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Barbie Case Growing Pains as the American Girl Goes Global

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Marketing Strategy of Barbie Dolls

Barbie doll is the most famous doll in the world for over forty years. Little girls have grown up playing Barbie dolls and have even pass the love of Barbie dolls to their children. Almost every girl in this world have touched or played a Barbie doll at some point in their lives. Barbie is a famous brand from the United States which was launched on the year 1959. Barbie was created by Ruth and Elliot Handler the persons behind Mattel Toys, the idea behind Barbie came from their daughter Barbara, upon seeing their daughter play with paper dolls the couple have comprehended completely the idea that creating a 3D doll that represents a woman would be a good toy (, 2007).

Ever since the product was launched in the market Barbie has faced a number of criticisms. One of the usual criticisms involving Barbie is that the doll promotes a false concept of a real body which could contributes to the development of eating disorders among young girls and females. But despite of the criticisms Barbie received and continues to receive it became the leading brand of dolls for almost 40 years. However, Barbie is not the only doll that dominates the market today. In the year 2006 the sales of the doll have fell to 8 per cent and the worldwide sales of Barbie have tumbled recently due to competition from Bratz dolls and the increasing demands of electronic toys that serve as a competition for Mattel.

Barbie dolls no longer dominates the doll industry with the entrance of Bratz dolls and other dolls in the market, the sales and market share of Barbie dolls decreases and with the assertive marketing strategies of other companies, the possibility of taking over the market share is inevitable if Mattel Toys continues to become weak on its marketing strategy. The objectives of the marketing strategy are:

To identify the appropriate marketing strategy for different age groups.

To develop new products that will suit the needs of the consumers.

To ensure that the Barbie products will be ahead in terms of market share and sales all over the world.

To develop an efficient marketing strategy utilisation of marketing mix in order to analyse the possible ways in which Barbie dolls could regain their status in the market. Marketing mix is defined by Philip Kotler wherein it refers to the four Ps in the market and these are the Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. Place includes the activities involved in the distribution of products, promotion includes advertising and selling of the goods, product involves the research and development, labelling, packaging and branding of the products and price involves the discounts, prices and credits of the products ( and , 1990).

Product- just as mentioned earlier the products include research and development, packaging and labelling. The Bratz doll was able to capture the attention girls particularly between the ages of 9 to 11 because of its popular dressing, the dolls have different characters to choose from and each doll projects a different image. In addition, the designs of the product which are the accessories and dresses are more up-to-date and funkier therefore little girls prefer having Bratz dolls. Moreover, more girls prefer Bratz dolls because of the different characteristics and images, unlike Barbie who only has one look. In order to address the changing needs of girls Barbie released Diva Starz and Flavas, however both products have unfavourable outcomes. According to a survey by Funosophy 57% of girls between the ages of 6-8 likes Bratz, 44% of girls ages between 9-11 also prefers Bratz. Among the dolls out in the market the most popular is Bratz with 39%, followed by My Scene 31%, Swan Lake Barbie 29% and Flavas 17%. 33% of girls ages 6-8 says their favourite dolls are Swan Lake and Bratz and 40% of girls ages 9-11 says Bratz is their favourite doll. In terms of favourite dolls Bratz dominate with 32% followed by Swan Lake 23%, My Scene Barbie 19% and Flavas 12%.

The survey clearly shows that Bratz is the favourite of girls. Mattel toys must thoroughly research and develop the trends in order to compete with the



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