Business Case Studies, Marketing Strategies / Strategic Marketing Case Study, Barbie , Bratz

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Case Title:

Barbie vs. Bratz

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Ruchi Mankad & Dr. A.V Vedpuriswar

Industry: Toys


Case Code: MKS0040A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Since 2001, Barbie doll, the creation of the world’s largest toy manufacturer Mattel, was facing stiff competition from Bratz dolls, the creation of Mattel’s rival company MGA Entertainment. Bratz were targeted at tweens who were kids (girls) in the age group of 8-12 years. They became an instant hit not only among tweens but also among the age group of younger girls (6-10 years) which was the core target age group of Barbie leading to a sharp decline in worldwide market share of Barbie. The case describes the US toy industry scenario since the time Barbie was born and that how Barbie grew from a toy into an idol and role model for young girls. She reigned supreme for over 40 years with Mattel maintaining her image that appealed to fantasy focused age groups. But Mattel could not foresee that the age compression factor was gripping the toy industry fast and could pose a threat to their flagship brand Barbie. This was the time when MGA seizing the opportunity, launched a much hipper doll that appealed to the girls yearning for maturity. These dolls were fashionable, wore stylish clothes, and had a multicultural look which attracted the diverse buyers more than Barbie. Bratz had become the top lifestyle brand for girls aged 7 to 14 years. Amidst declining popularity and fortunes of Barbie, Mattel reacted aggressively by launching a brand extension for Barbie targeting tweens, and a me-too line of dolls to compete directly with Bratz. But these moves were not sufficient to prevent loss of market share. The battle continues with the increasing popularity of Bratz and its intensified effort to knock off Barbie and the reaction of Mattel by making major merchandising deals with companies to reposition Barbie as a doll for girls of all ages.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To analyse the opportunities and challenges in the tween (girls) toy industry
  • To discuss the competition between the legendary Barbie and the new-comer Bratz and compare and contrast their positioning strategies
  • To debate traits of a successful market leader.

Keywords : Mattel, Barbie, Bratz, competition, tweens, KGOY, strategy, kids, girls, Marketing Strategies Case Study, product development, fashion, trend, segmentation, targeting, positioning, toy advertising, peripheral vision


  • Barbie vs Bratz
  • Barbie's beginning
  • Kids getting older younger (KGOY)
  • Bratz

  • My Scene Barbie
  • Flavas
  • Barbie battles
  • Conclusion

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