This Isn't Your Mother's Strawberry Shortcake

Sometimes a cartoon character's makeover works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Aug. 10, 2008 — -- Some cartoon characters never seem to age. For instance, Mickey Mouse, who was born a year before the stock market crash of 1929, doesn't look that different from his "Steamboat Willy" days.

And then there's Scooby Doo, who -- even in dog years -- still looks young.

But, while these characters don't get wrinkled, they do get old. And it's a challenge to keep them fresh and hip with their target audience.

"The inherent challenge of a classic character is, it becomes classic and it looks very much of another time," Chris Byrne, contributing editor for Toy and Family Entertainment magazine told "Good Morning America." "That's great if we're watching Shirley Temple movies, but if you're trying to reach today's girls or boys in a crowded marketplace, you have to have something that looks like what they're seeing around them."

For the 80s classic character Strawberry Shortcake, that means her traditional bloomers and spunky red curls are out, and a slicker look with lip gloss, sleeker outfit and modern, long strawberry locks are in.

"GMA's" Kate Snow visited Strawberry Shortcake in her cartoon land strawberry patch for a little one-on-one.

"Do you mind if I call you Strawberry?" Snow asked her animated friend.

Shortcake was not shy about showing off her new look.

"There's only one way to describe my new look: absolutely delicious!" exclaimed Shortcake. "Do you like my new hat? You know, sometimes you just gotta try something new."

"I love the hat. It's like a strawberry, only modern," Snow told Strawberry. "So, why did you need a makeover?"

"Why the makeover? I mean, who likes wearing the same outfit over and over? Life is all about discovering new ways to be yourself!" the pint-sized sage piped up. "You wouldn't do 'Good Morning America' in big hair and a leisure suit, wouldja?"

Snow thought about this for a moment, and replied, "I probably wouldn't, but Ron [Claiborne] might. So, how do you think your new look is going to help you?"

"How do I think my new look will help me?" she giggled. "I never thought about it that way! It's really more important to help others, right? That's how you make the berry best things happen!"

"You know, my sister was a huge fan of your early work," Snow admitted.

Shortcake graciously responded, "Thank you berry much!"

But she's not the only one getting a new look. Remember the Care Bears? They're back with a little less belly fat and longer eye lashes. And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are now a little leaner and less mean.

But kids and parents can be fickle. Creators take a risk if they change a popular character too much.

Case in point -- the Earring Magic Ken Doll by Mattel. In 1993, Mattel introduced Ken with an earring, blonde highlights and a mesh lavender shirt. It didn't work.

And in 2005, Warner Brothers tried updating the Looney Tunes with a cool futuristic look and new name, "The Loonatics." They were a lot thinner, edgier and more determined-looking. And they bombed out.

"Everybody in the business has had their missteps, but the good thing about a classic character is you can have a misstep," said Byrne, "but you can always come back from that, and that's the constant search -- what's going to resonate with today's consumers."