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Does Mattels Iconic Barbie Doll Need a Makeover Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2693 1659 Words (8 Pages) Karen Robson, Stefanie Beninger Ivey Publishing : W16090
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Mattel's Barbie has come a long way since repositioning itself in the 1960s to the global toys market. The annual sales account for over a billion dollars, and it is perceived that 2 dolls are sold by the company per second due to its extensive distribution network and identity associated with its dolls. Declining sales of the company from 2012 made a change in the CEO position, which empowered the company to achieve sustainability in the long run by repositioning itself in the market with redefined goals to address the competition and concerns of the consumers. The makeover for Barbie was necessary as the competition in the toy industry and Barbie's niche were on the rise. Since the company has made a generational impact, it is important the company redefines itself with the incorporation of advertisement that highlights the diversified uses of the doll in a child's upbringing while discussing the importance of acceptability of cultural diversity in the globalised world.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. What are the main issues that the Barbie brand currently faces? What are the ongoing controversies about Barbie?

  2. What is the influence of Barbie on society? Is Barbie ''bad'' for society?

  3. What is your analysis of Mattel’s repositioning efforts, including its new advertisements and new products?

  4. What would you recommend that Mattel (and the managers of the Barbie brand) do next?

Case Study Questions Answers

1. What are the main issues that the Barbie brand currently faces? What are the ongoing controversies about Barbie?

The billion-dollar brand, Barbie, has significantly integrated itself into the toys market with extensive distribution and a wide variety in its product line. Barbie is not just a toy, as its founders described the toy as an empirical part of a girl’s childhood. Ever since the company endorsed itself in the toy industry, there are expectations of the consumers that are supposed to meet; however, the changing dynamics of the world amidst globalisation have marginalised the interest of the consumers. Since the product is a secondary purchase of consumers because the primary consumers are kids, the company faces significant resistance in aligning the product that meets the expectations of both the parents and kids.

Barbie has been in continuous development since its inception. The dolls have resurfaced themselves as career-oriented dolls, which have influenced the mindset of young girls. However, Barbie was challenged for its perception of beauty, where the dolls were portrayed against natural human body proportions. Young girls dreamt of achieving the physique of Barbie, which was not possible, due to which the company received significant backlash from the millennial market. The company vows to make changes and adhere to the changing market demands and bring its toys sentiments close to reality. Barbie was able to differentiate itself in various professions; however, it failed to develop a relationship with the boys, which comprise over half of the market share in the toy industry.   

Barbie, from being just a doll in the 1960s, readily incorporated technology and became interactive through vigorous innovations in the company. Mattel enabled camera and voice recording in the dolls, which led to a series of allegations against the company that could facilitate the predators. Later, the company had to discontinue its line and disable the interaction feature of the toy. It is analysed that the toys were assisting the children in strengthening their communication skills; however, the risk of privacy was greater than the learning possibilities offered by Barbie. With their launched commercial in "2015," Barbie promoted that the girls playing with these dolls could actually achieve the life of the doll they played with, which led to a women objectification debate due to the physical features of the doll. 

2. What is the influence of Barbie on society? Is Barbie ''bad'' for society?

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