Consumer Behaviour - African American Barbie case study

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Information about Consumer Behaviour - African American Barbie case study

Published on March 4, 2014

Author: AbhinavMathur1



A look how an iconic brand Such as Barbie has influenced millions and continues to do till date. The case study talk about the introduction of African American Barbie (titled: Black Barbie) and observes the brand extensions being shaped up due to (often frenzied) consumer behavior.

Barbie has literally 'molded' itself to blend with different cultures, go across product categories and retain its 'crown' when it comes to a girl's best friend forever or put simply as 'BFF'.

Consumer Behavior Case Study: Mattel’s Black Barbie Presented By: Abhinav Mathur (06)

Let’s Recall! 2

An Introduction… Inventor: Ruth Handler Named after Barbara Handler (Ruth’s daughter) Inspiration came from a German doll named “Lilli” Debuted in 1959 through Mattel Toy Company Barbie is available in 150 different countries Has 45 different nationalities

Some examples from 1959 The 1st Barbie

The First Commercial! 5

Welcome To ‘Black’ Barbie 6

Case Introduction 1980, line of black Barbie dolls launched, with fuller lips, a wider nose and more pronounced cheek bones; designed by Stacey McBride-Irby Features BFFs Grace, Kara and Trichelle

Let’s Hear It From Stacey! Problem with ‘Black’ Barbie "Why couldn't one of the dolls have a little short afro, or shorter braids or something?“ it reinforces the message that there is something wrong with natural hair. "Black mothers who want their girls to love their natural hair have an uphill battle and these dolls could make it harder," McBride-Irby said she originally designed all the dolls with long hair. Combing her Barbie's long hair when she was a girl was the "highlight of my play experience". Problem with ‘Black’ Barbie Aside from the hair… Dolls' thin frames Unrealistic body image, with her long legs, tiny waist and large breasts Belief that "black skin isn't pretty and our hair is too kinky and short,"

The Curious Case Of Cindy Jackson! Spent $55,000 to look like Barbie Went through 20 plastic surgeries Purpose: wanted to be a real-life Barbie 10

Price & Feature Wise… General Type Fashion Dolls Ideal for Girls Age Group 3 Years + Product Dimensions Product Weight 580 g Box Dimensions Width 10 inch Height 12.75 inch Depth 2.62 inch Power Features Other Power Features Non Electronic Rs. 499 – 14,999* *as seen on

The Rival: Monster High Dolls Introduced in 2010 – Sales growing rapidly Fourth straight quarter of sales declines for Barbie Monster High sales have likely grown to more than $500 million in just three years Barbie annual sales are about $1.3 billion, estimates BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson. Sales of Mattel's Barbie franchise declined 12 percent in the latest quarter. Sales of the company's other girls brands climbed 23 percent, mostly due to the continued popularity of Monster High products.

In Popular Culture… Animated Movie

Dhoom-3 Mattel’s movie deals with ‘Dhoom 3’

Real Life Barbie! With Katy Perry

Real Life Barbie! With Prince William & Kate

Barbie Action Figures

In Indian themes

Barbie in India, with Aishwarya Rai

Barbie & Katrina Kaif: I Can Be…

Oscar Barbie!

Barbie & Events

Career Barbie!

Countries and culture adapting

Brand Merchandise

Brand Merchandise (contd.)


Widely Accepted...

Brand Equity 60’s Was created because children were playing with paper dolls Caught on fast because it was one of a kind Little girls could relate to Barbie Help to show women's independence Represented women's roles in society Introduction of Ken

Brand Equity 70’s Doll became more realistic with more fluidly moving parts Had a more natural look to her appearance Barbie clothing started to follow societies trends Went international with the 1976 Olympics

Brand Equity 80’s Barbie took on more of a working woman role Followed the trend of women joining the work force out of necessity Took on more empowered job roles Strengthened international lines by creating ethnic Barbie's Aided in equality among all Barbie followers

Brand Equity 90’s Introduced talking Barbie Created a life sized Barbie for children to play with Introduced Barbie merchandise Collecting and displaying Barbie Dolls became prominent “Barbie Summit” brought together children from all around the world

Brand Equity 00’s Launched On-screen debut in animated films Barbie remained the #1 selling girls brand in the world Out sold competitors 2 to 1 with $3.6 billion in sales

Brand Equity Current Still #1 selling girls brand in the world Went from teen fashion model to best friend and adventurer image Now has items in 45 different consumer categories Has seen an increase in direct competition as well as indirect

Brand Equity Current Cont.

Under Performing “Barbie continues to face tough competition in MGA Entertainment’s puffy-lipped Bratz dolls and still struggles with a customer base that is growing up – and out of the toy market – faster than ever.” Has been out sold by Bratz in the UK for the last four years Bratz is generating 500 million in sales each year Bratz is currently the best selling fashion doll in Australia

Under Performing Cont. “Chief Executive Robert Eckert called Barbie's performance for the full year [in 2007] a ‘disappointment’ on a conference call.” “Domestic sales of the classic fashion doll plunged 21 percent in the first quarter [of 2007]” “Mattel Inc’s U.S. Barbie sales fell 12 percent during the fourth quarter[of 2008].”

Under Performing Cont. Mattel stock price Jan 2008 – Dec 2008

Lawsuits… Recent lawsuit between Bratz and Barbie MGA Entertainment pays: $10 Million for copyright infringement $90 Million for breach of contract Bratz to be pulled from stores 2009 $778 Million in sales and current market share greater then Barbie Designer Carter Bryant developed concept while working at Mattel

The Breakdown Strengths Ability to quickly adapt to changes in society “Timeless classic” Strong brand name Strong company name Weaknesses Target market has a small age range Increased competition Inability to relate to current youth Harder to capture children's attention with simple items

Criticism… Body image Barbie’s life choices “Bimbo” image Aqua’s Barbie Girl song Overload of products Promotes violence

Measuring The Process Measure by awareness –registration, word of mouth, etc. Measure Barbie sales vs. competition sales Test market research Consumer feedback/surveys/market research

Revitalization Process Strengthen the physical doll’s equity Bring Barbie's image into the 21st century Campaign the “Barbie Like Me” (younger generation) Campaign: “Reconnect with your childhood and connect with your children” (older generation) Incorporate Barbie more with technology


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