Mattel launches new-look Barbie

Young girls will soon be able to choose a unique combination of hair style, eye colour and skin tone for their Barbie dolls when Mattel launches the new tailormade Barbie called My Design.

Children will be able to customise their dolls through the Barbie Website where they can choose her name, date of birth, skin, eye and hair colour. A blueprint of the doll is then printed out and the transaction is sealed by placement of a credit card order.

The doll will retail for about 24 and the service will launch in the autumn.

The toy company is also considering bringing Internet access points into major retailers such as Toys R Us to promote the My Design product. The move is part of a drive by the company to develop its multimedia credentials.

Barbie is to put her name to a digital camera which allows children to download and print pictures.

She is also expected to make her game console debut on Nintendo’s Game Boy.

A spokeswoman for Mattel says: “The Barbie brand lends itself well to other methods of play and we are keen to develop the multi-media side of Barbie.”

Mattel, which recently ran into controversy after launching the first Barbie doll with tattoos, is also in talks to buy multimedia outfit The Learning Company.

News Analysis, page 21

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