Barbie Case Study Answer

Topics: Mattel, Barbie, Fashion doll Pages: 9 (2827 words) Published: October 19, 2012
Barbie’s Success Story
Submitted By
Kishor Chandra
WMG 18


Question 1.
Analyst observed that the Barbie, the main icon of American culture, reflected changes in American society. Analyze the changes in Barbie’s image over the years.

Barbie was considered an icon of American culture across the world and a representation of the richness and luxurious lifestyle of the Americans. She was also regarded as a role model who inspired young girls to become independent and self independent. Analyst attributed Barbie’s success to its ever changing styles and its adaptability to changing trends in American society. Barbie faced a lot of criticism for allegedly sending wrong messages to young girls. Sometimes Barbie also faces many criticisms. Sometimes it was criticized for a sex symbol. Some even accused Barbie of encouraging girls to visualize themselves as sex objects. One of the main reasons for Barbie’s success was its adaptability to changing trends. It was reported that Barbie had more than 80 careers within a period of 40 years. The doll had played a role of college graduate, doctor, teacher, astronaut, presidential candidate, surgeon and business executive among others. Mattel realized that to suit the changing times, Barbie needed to look more assertive. In 1971, Mattel introduced” Live Action Barbie” to portray the liberated woman. Live Action Barbie had a trimmer figure than earlier Barbie’s. In 1974 Mattel introduced “Sweet Sixteen” Barbie. This Barbie was not glamorous as teenager during that period opted for less makeup and long hair. In 1975 for the winter Olympics a new athlete Barbie was launched. The athlete Barbie had the clothes and accessories of a swimmer, skater and a skier. With a new version, Barbie’s faces also have new changes. In 1975 she got a warm grin and by 1977 she had a permanent smile. In the 1980s Barbie came with wide smile and winged hair. By the mid 1980s, the American woman adopting different careers, Mattel wanted to change the Barbie’s image to boost up the sales. That time young girls were becoming career oriented. So, Barbie was launched as an astronaut in 1986 and as a doctor in 1988.In 1985 Mattel introduced” Day to Night Barbie”, which represents the busy lifestyle of working women. Mattel also renew the image of Barbie as a fashion doll by introducing crystal Barbie, Puerto Rican Barbie and great shape Barbie. To support Barbie’s new image, Mattel launched a new ad campaign “We girls can do anything” in 1980s. The whole ad conveyed the idea that young girls could do anything they wanted. In 1992, Mattel launched “Presidential Candidate Barbie”, inspiring young girls to opt for a career in politics. In 1998 Mattel launched Barbie’s website In 1990s Barbie had a decrease in sales due to increase in alternative means of entertainment for kids such as video games, computer games and the internet. Also kids could not relate to Barbie due to changing priorities and analyst also observed that in the 1990s, young girls became more career minded and techno savvy and they failed to relate Barbie. In 1997 JILL BARAD became a CEO of Mattel and also she announced to make Barbie’s image more consistent with the image of women in 1990s. In 1997 Barbie’s first classical ballet series, sugar plum fairy was launched. In this series Barbie was launched under seven world famous ballet series. Due to decrease in sales of various reasons, in 1998 Mattel redesigned Barbie. Barbie was launched with slimmer hips, a wider waist and smaller breasts and this new Barbie reflected society in the late 1990s. To support the image overhaul of Barbie, Mattel launched ‘Be anything ‘campaign in 1999. This advertisement showed that girls start in to the camera with untamed hair and a confident look, holding a hockey stick behind her head. In 1990s Mattel celebrated 40th birthday. And this birthday celebrations, Mattel introduced successful women who like Barbie doll taught little...
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