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Case Title:

Barbie: Less Attractive to Kids?

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Sanghamitra Bhattacharya & Aruna N

Industry: Toys


Case Code: MKS0097B

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Mattel, the largest toy company based on revenues, was the manufacturer of Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox cars and board games. Barbie dolls were introduced in 1959. With these dolls attracting kids, different varieties of Barbie dolls were released into the toy market. Mattel dominated the toy market till the late 1990s. But in 2001, when Bratz dolls were introduced, the realistic look of these dolls attracted kids and they started abandoning Barbie dolls. Between 2001 and 2004, Barbie sales fell by 27.5% due to stiff competition from Bratz.

In 2005, MGA sued Mattel in federal court, accusing it of unfair competition, intellectual property infringement and serial copycatting. Due to the changing preference of children for interactive toys and computer and video games, Barbie product line experienced decline in its worldwide sales by 12.5%. To attract kids, Mattel started selling Barbie dolls with cell phones. It formed partnership with Single Touch Interactive to sell Nokia cell phones on purchasing My Scene Barbie product line and updated its website to make it more interactive. The company planned to form an alliance with Apple to introduce iPods. But analysts were skeptical about Mattel’s success. Would Mattel succeed in its efforts?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the competition scenario in the toy industry
  • Barbie’s copyright issues
  • Changing preferences in the toy industry
  • Mattel’s strategies to adopt to changing preferences.

Keywords : Barbie, tweens, bratz, Jem, Marketing Strategies Case Study, Changing kids, decline in sales, Mattel, Interactive toys, electronic, Flava, My Scene Barbie, affiliation, disclose


  • Mattel
  • Barbie dolls
  • Barbie Changing with time
  • Barbie losing to Bratz
  • Changing preference of Kids for Interactive Toys
  • Barbie goes electronic?

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