Barbie, at 57-years-old, is finally acting her age.
Today, in a massive Time cover story, Mattel announced it’s now selling three new body types— tall, petite and curvy — plus debuting new hairstyles and seven new skin tones in an attempt to better reflect the young shoppers it desperately wants to attract.
“We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty,” Mattel said in a statement. The new group, called “Fashionistas,” are being sold online and will ship next month.
Barbie’s appearance has long been criticized as being “out of touch” or not diverse enough. Evelyn Mazzocco, the global brand GM of Barbie, even receives death threats. Finally, after years of focus groups and designs, Mattel was ready to roll out the new dolls.
“Yes, some people will say we are late to the game,” Mazzocco conceded. “But changes at a huge corporation take time.”
We proudly offer girls more choices than ever. Learn more at https://t.co/JDeqzI59nX. #TheDollEvolves ￼#Barbie pic.twitter.com/x4PzxduwXJ
— Barbie (@Barbie) January 28, 2016
Mattel hopes the makeover also beautifies its bottom-line in addition to the public’s perception. Between 2012 and 2014, sales of Barbie slumped 20 percent as rivals, like Disney’s toys from “Frozen,” were responsible for as much as $500 million in losses, according to Time.
While it’s too soon to see how the new Barbie dolls helped sales, reaction online has been 90 percent positive according to data from Brandwatch. The makeover prompted 65,000 tweets so far today, with the brand’s relaunch hashtag, #TheDollEvolves, garnering 15,000 tweets.
The curvy model is the most talked about doll, with 12,000 mentions, with the tall doll in second place at 9,600 mentions and petite garnering 9,500 mentions.
Barbie is getting a makeover. Mattel is rolling out three new body types for the iconic blonde doll: curvy, tall and petite.
Posted by Digiday on Thursday, January 28, 2016
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