Culture Magazine

Mattel Rebranding Barbie?

By Ashley Brooke, Kewpie83 @KewpieDoll83

It’s common knowledge that as of late, the Barbie brand has had sluggish sales and has been pulling Mattel down financially.  It’s no surprise– dolls are currently in a tough position.  On one hand, they are the first item people think of when pondering what to buy their young girl (or boy).  On the other hand, where seven or eight year olds may have actively played with dolls ten years ago, now most prefer digital toys or games.  The current toy trends really don’t bode well for any doll line, Barbie included.

People say Barbie’s sales droop is due to her not being relevant to today’s target market.  I don’t see that at all, personally.  Imaginative play of all kinds is very important to the developmental growth of children and it doesn’t get much easier than picking up a Barbie and opening up your imagination.  It is also said that the negative press attached to the numerous attacks on Barbie due to her body shape have something to do with the low sales.  I don’t buy that, either.  I’ve never really brought it up here on my blog, but I don’t think the kind of doll you play with as a kid has any bearing on how you think of your body.  Body image, I think, is learned from the people around you, not the things you play with.

Barbie’s needed to be rebranded for a few years now.  The trouble started for me back when Barbie’s started hitting store shelves with large, overly inflated head molds and hollow limbs.  Barbie lines started looking the same and some even started looking generic.  The Barbie and Her Sisters line was a step in the right direction.  Not only did it bring back my favorite doll, Skipper, but it helped break up the monotony of a somewhat stale Barbie aisle.

The past few walks through the toy aisle, I thought I noticed Barbie’s getting prettier. I thought it was my imagination, but it seems like it is just the beginning of Mattel’s rebranding of the Barbie line.

Fashion Doll World posted images of the future of Barbie.  All credit for these images goes to that site.  I highly recommend checking the site for more in depth photos.  I didn’t see a source mentioned in her post, but my guess is these must have come from an internal document or a survey that was meant to be kept under wraps.  Of course, that’s my just speculation.  I honestly have no idea where these images came from, other than her blog.

Barbie Rebranding- Image from

Barbie Rebranding- Image from

Barbie Rebranding- photo from

Barbie Rebranding- image from

Barbie Rebranding

Barbie Rebranding, image from

If these images truly do showcase Mattel’s plan for 2015, then I am totally on board.  I’m loving the variety in the prototype dolls!  Not to mention, the face molds seem much more proportionate to the Barbie body then they have in the past.

What do you think of the new direction Mattel is possibly going?  What would you like to see in this rebranding?  Why do you think the Barbie line has sluggish sales?  Share your thoughts below!

October 31, 2014. Tags: barbie, mattel. Category: Articles and Doll Histories.

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