To tell a good story and engage with a wide range of audiences, it requires a diverse set of characters. They have to look and act different. It would be a boring story if everyone was the same.
That’s one reason why Mattel has added new dolls to its Barbie collection. The latest addition is a series of different Ken dolls, with different body types, skin colors, eye colors, and hair styles. Kids can now select Ken with a ‘man bun’, cornrows, and freckles. It might make us smile to see Ken with a man bun hair style, but Mattel now has a wider number of Barbie styles than ever before. In total:
- 40 new dolls
- 7 body types
- 11 skin tones
- 28 hairstyles
- 100+ diverse looks
The “New Crew” has a large line-up of dolls in almost all shapes and styles. Last year’s more diverse Barbie collection helped increase the division’s worldwide sales by 7%. Mattel’s research also shows that for every six to eight Barbies a child has, there is one Ken doll. All the more reason to show a wider range of looks to keep kids of all shapes, colors, and sizes interested in playing with Barbie dolls.
One future Ken idea: facial hair!
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss children’s toys as a market. How diverse are today’s toys for kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors?
- Show the new Ken and Barbie dolls: http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/fashionistas.html
- Video: https://youtu.be/c3jbh1PMsOk
- Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
- Which strategy is Mattel using for this product? Why?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the new Ken dolls.
- Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.
Source: Brandchannel.com, Ad Age Daily, other news sources