Business Administration Education Guide

Monday, April 30, 2007

Barbie’s Girls Is Just Anther Bratz

Barbie has logged on and going social.

Mattel (MAT, news, msgs) unveiled what they’re hoping will be the newest Barbie craze a connection to the Web with a site called, BarbieGirls.com. According to the MSN article, “Mattel is hoping that Barbie Girls will reinvigorate the brand and serve as a case study in how a 1950s-era business finds its place in the Digital Age.”

Interpretation: They’re hoping to make millions from the digital cyber world of plugged in youth.

Since July 14, the El Segundo, Calif., toy maker's stock, an idler for much of the past six years, has surged 80%. Analyst believe Mattel overall is doing a better job connecting with tech-savvy kids. Top sellers last year included a $40 Elmo that wriggled across the floor and a $70 digital camera for tots.

The combination of online and offline play is becoming the hottest trend in toys. The most visible example is Webkinz, from privately held Canadian toy maker Ganz. The $11 stuffed animals’ come with distinctive pass codes that give kids one year of access to a site where they can play games and chat with friends. Ganz says it has sold more than 1.5 million of the critters since their introduction two years ago.

The latest Barbie isn't a doll but a 4½-inch-long gadget that attaches to a PC via a docking station and USB port. When the device goes on sale in July, it will be the only way kids can fully interact with BarbieGirls.com.

Clearly, Mattel hopes to borrow a page from the online video games, social networking sites and instant messaging services that are so popular with today's kids. The company has run a Barbie.com site for a decade. Its mix of games, video clips and product info makes it one of the more popular online destinations for girls, according to comScore, which measures Internet use and consumers’ online behavior.

The majority are 6 to 11 years old, many of them former doll buyers who are now likely to say they're embarrassed to play with a plastic princess. On the other hand, more than half of American 6-to-11-year-olds have gone online in the past 30 days, says Mediamark Research.

In this virtual world, girls will create a character they can name, dress and customize by skin tone, hairstyle and expression. They'll shop for clothes and furniture in a virtual mall, using "B-bucks" earned by playing games and watching product promotion videos. Security software will monitor the exchanges and prevent them from giving out names, addresses or phone numbers that could end up in the hands of predators.

1 Comments:

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbie girls is not neccesarily what i would call fun for me or any of my friends. One minute you're in the cafe', then in your room, but when you try to go to the cafe' again it won't allow you to. For the past 3 1/2 hours i have been trying to go inside one of the stores on the map, but it continues to say, "hey girl, guess what, this place is totally full." Like i'm their girlfriend, yeah right. It totally needs some improving, the site is too small, why would let girls sign up if the capacity is too high.

 

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