Barbie doll undergoes ‘fashion icon’ makeover

Mattel is to relaunch Barbie in the UK with new packaging and marketing as part of a global initiative to market the 50-year-old doll brand as a “fashion” icon.

The makeover, which also covers point of sale promotion and the brand’s website, is part of a global strategy to provide “a consistent approach” in the way Barbie dolls are packaged and marketed.

New packaging will be introduced from the end of July ahead of a television campaign breaking mid-August. The company aims to have “fully consistent” packaging by spring/summer 2010.

Erica Vankamp, marketing director for Barbie, says the new concept is “testament to the brand’s commitment to bringing Barbie to life”.

Mattel has partnered with Hamley’s, which sees the “Barbie area” at the London toy store given a revamp in line with the new look.

The move comes a month after the brand, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, reported worldwide gross sales dropped 5% in the first quarter despite posting a double-digit increase in the US.

Barbie sales had been under pressure from the success of rival doll range Bratz until last year, when a court ruled against Bratz owner MGA Entertainment. Mattel had claimed that the name and design of the dolls was based on drawings that its creator Carter Bryant had done while under contract to Mattel.

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