Wednesday, August 07, 2013

How Mattel Got It Right With Goth Barbie

Lucky Mattel – its Goth Barbie is a bestseller. The company launched the doll in 2010 as part of its "Monster High" collection. Three years later, Goth Barbie counterbalanced the slumping sales of it pink counterpart; Mattel enjoyed a sales increase of 56 percent.

At the time the collection hit the market, the Gothic Barbie dolls were received with cynicism. As toy analyst Gerrick Johnson phrased it: "I didn't think it would work. Why does Barbie work? Barbie works because she's aspirational. Girls want to be like Barbie." He thought that the dolls would be too ghoulish for girls to relate to.

However, in the age of “Twilight”, True Blood” and “The Hunger Games", ghoul is glam. Mattel understood what girls really want and delivered accordingly. Goth Barbie is thin, glamorous and carries an uncanny resemblance to Abby Sciuto of NICS.

The dolls have become so popular that other brands launched copycat versions such as zombie Little Mermaid and zombie Snow White.

Cathy Cline, Mattel’s manager in charge of marketing the novel toys, said this about the meteoric success of Goth Barbie dolls: "The message about the brand is really to celebrate your own freaky flaws, especially as bullying has become such a hot topic. And it's also one of the fastest growing brands within the entire toy industry."

Mattel is laughing all the way to the bank. As Kiyomi Haverly, vice president of design at Mattel puts it: "Honestly, it was very surprising to us. We just noticed girls were into darker Goth fashion."

Kudos for Mattel to listening to their customers!

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