Mattel is taking its iconic Barbie doll back to its wholesome roots and is targeting middle class girls in a new brand strategy, called “B Who U Wanna B”, in a move in the opposite direction of rival doll brand Bratz.
A spokeswoman for Mattel says the strategy is a return to the roots of Barbie and confirms it is aimed at the innocence of childhood.
The move is also perceived as a response to negative reactions towards toy brands such as Bratz, which has often come under criticism for sexualising young girls and for having a “tarty” image.
The B Who U Wanna B campaign launches with a heavyweight television campaign, which will run across satellite and terrestrial TV channels for four weeks from mid-August. Mattel will offer girls the chance to win a horse for a year.
The strategy is ongoing and will be followed in October by a second campaign offering girls the opportunity to “win the life of a princess”.
Mattel says the strategy is in response to research among girls about what they really want, but it is also perceived to be a move to woo alienated parents who are disillusioned with recent initiatives, such as the Barbigirls- .com social networking site launched earlier this year (MW May 3).
The new strategy will be supported online, with a campaign to drive traffic to micro-site BWhoUWannaB.co.uk. Users will also be directed from Barbie.co.uk, but there are no plans as yet to tie it into Barbiegirls.com, according to Mattel.