Barbie Goes Interactive As Global Sales Rise
Hoping that blending girls' love of music, fashion and the Internet will keep 10-year-old girls interested in Barbie, Mattel yesterday unwrapped Barbie Girls--a multipronged brand that features a free Web site: BarbieGirls.com. It will allow children to create their own virtual characters, design their own room and try on clothes at a cyber mall.
BarbieGirls.com targets the 7-to-12 age group, the same age range Barbie.com attracts. But BarbieGirls.com provides a much more interactive experience than Barbie.com, where play is limited to online games and other content. This summer, Mattel will introduce a Barbie-inspired handheld MP3 music device to interact with the new Web site and unlock even more content.
The launch comes as Mattel has been making inroads in turning around sales hurt by fierce competition from MGA Entertainment's pouty Bratz dolls. While domestic sales of the classic fashion doll plunged 21% in the first quarter, strong popularity for the Barbie doll abroad translated to 2% growth worldwide.