Marketing Case Study for Barbie

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Case Study I - Barbie 7 April 2011

This case study will examine five questions affecting the marketing of Barbie. It will consider the environmental factors affecting Barbie, a SWOT analysis, her position and the implications of it in the BCG Matrix, her target market, and my strategy if I was product manager of the Barbie line.

1. A number of environmental factors impact Barbie. Regarding the environmental factor of competition, Barbie has two major competitors -- dolls from Spin Master Ltd, “perhaps the hottest toy maker in North America” and dolls from Bratz (Zimmerman 1). The new models of these dolls both made it to the market before her last model did. Regarding the economic factor, the average income has gone down significantly with the downturn in the economy. So people do not have as much money for expensive toys, and this puts pressure on the doll market and results in fewer sales. Regarding the legal and regulatory environment affecting Barbie, Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, has sued a designer of her competitor Bratz and the company that produces them, MGA (1). There has been another legal issue regarding Barbie and song lyrics; Mattel sued the band Aqua over a song about Barbie, claiming it made fun of her. The judge dismissed the case, however (4).

Technological factors affecting the Barbie market include a competitor using technology to create a doll that has more joints than Barbie, so she can be arranged into more different positions (2). Another important one is how attractive new technology like iPods, video games, and computers are to kids. Mattel has created some new products for this market, like a Barbie video game, but the popularity of those technologies is also hurting Barbie because it is drawing kids away from physical dolls (2). This is also a socio-cultural factor as the culture shifts more to be dominated by this kind of technology. Another socio-cultural factor is the way that parents have not liked the sexuality...
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