A Ken Doll for Today’s Kids

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:

  1. Discuss children’s toys as a market. How diverse are today’s toys for kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors?
  2. Show the new Ken and Barbie dolls: http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/fashionistas.html
  3. Video: https://youtu.be/c3jbh1PMsOk
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Mattel using for this product? Why?
  6. 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.
  7. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

Source:  Brandchannel.com, Ad Age Daily, other news sources   

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