Does Mattel's Iconic Barbie Doll Need a Makeover?
(7 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
In 2015, almost 60 years after being introduced to the market, the Barbie doll was one of the world’s most iconic toys. However, both the industry landscape and consumer preferences were changing, and Barbie was yet again in the spotlight as consumers criticized the toy for providing a narrow and unrealistic vision of how women should look, how they should dress, and the careers they should pursue. Sales and public perception of the doll were both on the downswing. Was there a place for the Barbie doll in 2015, or was this the end of the line for the iconic doll? What could Mattel, the company behind Barbie, do to turn things around?
This case is intended for students at an undergraduate or graduate level and is best used as part of an introduction to marketing course, or as part of a course on marketing and society, branding, or marketing ethics. The learning objectives include the following:
- Understanding that even iconic brands face the risk of becoming less relevant to consumers as preferences and trends change in increasingly competitive markets.
- Appreciating that controversies regarding a product and its marketing can have an impact on a brand and its sales, although the precise impact can be difficult to determine.
- Recognizing that companies with long histories face challenges in balancing a brand’s history and positioning with competing and conflicting customer-, retailer-, and industry-level elements.
Arts, Entertainment, Sports and Recreation
United States, Large, 2015
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