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noemi ripoll

on 17 April 2013

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Barbie: Growing Pains as the American Girl Goes Global MGT 155 Case No. 3
Ramos, Mozelle R.
Sebastian, Jamaica Pam V. In 1976, a time capsule was buried to commemorate the U.S. bicentennial. The capsule contained items that captured the essence of America and included a Barbie doll, described as the “quintessential American”. Thirty years later, Barbie has become much more cosmopolitan. Although Mattel generates about 60 percent of its annual revenue in the U.S. market, millions of girls around the world have adopted Barbie as a favorite toy Case Background 2. Approximately 90 percent of the world’s children live in developing countries. Despite recent negative sales trends, Barbie remains the most popular toy in the world. What must Mattel do to capitalize on the strategic strength of the Barbie brand and take advantage of market opportunities around the globe? 3.How important is culture in
dictating children’s toy preferences?
Will cultural differences result in
failure for Mattel as the company
faces new competitors in the
Middle East? Overall, Barbie is the best-selling toy brand in the world, and Mattel is the world’s largest toy maker. However, as Barbie approaches her fiftieth birthday, the fashion doll’s popularity is declining at home and abroad. For example, Bratz, a competing doll line featuring racing fashions, has exploded in popularity.
A strategy dubbed “Mattel 2000” focused on the company’s direction during the decade of the 1990s.
However, although Barbie has been successfully adapted to cultural differences in the United States, the opportunities for international growth come with formidable challenges. Even so, according to current CEO Robert Eckert, Mattel is “dedicated to becoming a truly global company.” 1. Describe Mattel’s global marketing strategy for Barbie and assess its success. Does management demonstrate that it understands and embraces the need to “think global and act local”? Strategy for Europe: Pan-European and Regiocentric approach. • Friendship Barbie in 1990s Result: Little girls in Europe prefer the well-known American Barbie to the local versions. Strategy for the Middle East: • Use overall localization strategy to meet the local cultures. • Value matters. Barbie has faced the opposition on political, religious and social grounds. • Modesty is a very important part in their culture. Laila Dara and Sara (Iran) who focus on the value of importance of family They have lower price but higher benefits than those of Barbie’s, which brings higher values to the consumers Result:
Fulla achieved the popularity. They are clothed in modest outdoor fashions. They can succeed because they created a value that parents and children can accept. Fulla Strategy for Latin America: • Mattel tried to localize their Barbie, but local Barbie dolls are more popular than theirs. Result:
Young girls want dolls that show them as they are, not as they want to be. • Mattel tried to localize their Barbie but failed • After 20 years of perseverance, Mattel searched for business alliance to achieve their success. Result: Maba Barbie --- Mattel and Bandai alliance, poor competition Long Hair Star Barbie, success. Girls in Japan prefer American style Barbie to local versions. • Mattel joined with Bandai to tackle the complex Japanese distribution system "Local Version" Strategy "Local Version" Strategy “Local version” strategy then adopted
US strategy Over time, Barbie’s look has changed to account for changes in culture and fashion trends • The market possibilities are very large for Barbie • They want to enter as many regions as possible. • Mattel acts upon “think global and act local” Simply because they develop new markets so to expand their product and their reach. Also, Barbie’s designs are evolving to address the varying cultures of different countries. - Extend Barbie’s life cycle - Carefully understand the local culture and any limitations from the country to be catered • Aesthetic value • Non-aesthetic value - Build Barbie culture - Children will choose
toys that reflect on
themselves and their
own fantasies. For the Middle East,
Mattel must: • Adjust their dolls to fit culturally in the market • Keep up with competition of other dolls • Expand their market to other areas of the Middle East • Accurately portray the culture in the dolls 4. Industry observers often refer to Barbie as an “icon.” What does this mean? What should Mattel executives do to turn around sales of Barbie in the United States? - Barbie is considered an icon in the United States • 1960s dolls were infants and babies • Ruth Handler’s saw that her daughter gave her dolls adult roles - Barbie needs to reflect not just the typical American girl: • Introduce multiracial Barbies • Build Barbie’s image References Lord, M.G. 1994. Forever Barbie: the unauthorized biography of a real doll. William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York. p.298 Strategy for Asia: - Culture is fundamental to individuals and differs cross-culturally. the role of family
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