MATTEL’S BARBIE NEEDS MAKEOVER Case Solution

Question: 1- Three main issues with the Barbie

Barbie has been an iconic doll since decades; however, with the progress in the market, and developmentof new trends, the brand image of Barbie has been questionable. The three main issues faced by BARBIE are;

  • The misalignment of the brand image with the message it communicates or the plot it uses forexample, the brand identity of Barbieis “girl empowerment and thinking beyond limits” yet some of its communication messages create a tabor in the society like Baritecannot be an effective software engineer.

The examples relate with the case, in a way, that initially Barbie was developedwith the objective to expand the horizonof possibility forgirls, howeverthrough its advertisement and product penetration, it depicted the idea that women cannot be an effective engineers, or cannot do math.

  • The product design is yet another issue faced by the brand Barbie currently. The issue is that Barbiepositionedthe body feature to be categorized as “beautiful” as slim body, yet beauty is not defined by the particular body size. This approach created a great chaos in the market, because many customersactedagainst the fact that a woman is only fit in the beauty frame if her body size matches Barbie’s. This conflict initiated as Barbie served as an iconic doll.

Thiscase is depictedunder the example of body shape, which received a lot of controversy and the customersrelated in anger due to such pre-requisites of “being beautiful”.

  • Non-uniformity of the offering is yet another problem that Barbie is facing, which means, with time it has been ineffective in creating a right perception about the product. It has failed to appropriatelyintegrate the business strategy into its market positioning, which, in turn, has supported its brand identity.

The abrupt communicationconductedthrough advertisements and product featurecreated a conflictwith the company’s initial vision which has exploitedthe possibilities. The example depicted in the case shows the evidence in which the company continuously failed to incorporate the vision in the marketing strategy. Indoing so, it depicted Barbie in a blackbikini and being successful career-wise. Thisapproachcreated a confusion in the role that Barbie lays with the vision of the company.

Question: 2 Two reasons for the negative impact on the society

Barbie has positioned the image of being “perfect” in every sense, be it fitness, dressing, skin tone, career and etc.In other words, it could be said that Barbie communicates the symbol of perfection, therefore this has had a bad impact on the societyand in the mind of girls, in a way that if she has to become perfect, she has to be likeBarbie. Practically this is not possible, life is not a bed of roses, asgirlsfaceproblems on a daily basis, due to which they cannot maintain the “Barbie look” and thus, develop stress or their confidence is affected.

One example depicted inthe case is regarding bodyaesthetics, is a Barbie doll house, which in all meansisperfect.The perfect bodyframe is 16 inch waist, tall heightandperfect makeup which every Barbie doll possesses.

Racism or division of class on the basis ofcolor is another problem created by Barbie. Barbie initially operated as a fair tall girl and only targeted the fair girls, which created an imbalance in the society as the other girlsbelongingof different colorscould not relate themselves with the fair Barbie.This, as a result, hada negative impact on the girls belonging fromdifferent racesand colors, thereforein order to be successful, the brand hasto be fair and tall. The brandalsocreated an image that success is for only tall beautiful girlswhofit in the “Barbiescale”. This message greatlydamagedthe confidence of the girls, which further behavior of the young girls towards the brand.

Thiscase depictsthemaking of the aesthetic bodyof Barbie with an unapologetic behavior. Though the company has launched other color dolls as well, howeverits star doll is still a tall and fair Barbie.

Question: 3Mattel’s strategy to reposition Barbie

Due to the reduction insales and strongcontroversies, Mattel repositionedBarbie in order to match the current social criteria and counter the controversies. Bydoing so, the company did the following:

  • The company reshaped the body of Barbie towards a more realistic body – bit curvy, in order to breakthe cultural taboo which it createdpreviously. ITrebrandeditself as a more realistgirl; thisapproach depicted the company’sstrategy to redesign the packaging of the product.
  • The company re-strategized its positioning strategy with the inculcation of the placementstrategy. Thecompany redevised its target market by including 22 tones and facial structure Barbiedolls. This step improved the image of Barbieas it identified and tapped different girls belonging to different cultures................................

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