This is some fun product news! Mattel has finally answered the global demand for dolls, which reflect real women’s bodies. The brand will now offer a variety of Barbies, with different body shapes and sizes, as well as a range of skin and hair colors.
1) The new Barbie body shapes:
The company launched a new line of Barbie dolls on January 28th, featuring several different body styles. From now on, children will be able to play with the original Barbie, but also a tall, petite and curvy version of it. In total, there will be 4 body types, 7 skin colors, 22 eye colors and 24 types of hairstyles. This is by far the biggest change for Barbie since she first appeared on shelves in 1959.
2) Why Mattel decided to change its iconic product:
The decision came after decades of concerns that the doll’s exaggeratedly thin body shape pushes girls to meet an impossible beauty standard.
At the same time, other independent brands were offering dolls with human sizes, proving that there is a demand for dolls that defy the body molds of the Barbies and Disney princesses.
- The Lammily doll, with the body proportions of an average 19-year-old woman, was a crowdfunding success story in 2014.
- The Lottie doll has a realistic 9-year-old child body shape and has received more than 20 international toy awards since 2012. It is now available in 30 countries.
3) Why it is good branding:
Mattel has finally started to listen its consumers; the change was inevitable for the brand’s survival in today’s market. The company is showing that all types of women can be beautiful, from curvy, to tall and petite body types, and that like real women, Barbie doesn’t have to fit one narrow standard.
Matell’s move shows its willingness to respond to critics by taking their concerns on board and answer to the market’s demands. I believe that this was a smart move, as the gatekeepers (parents) will finally feel better purchasing a doll with a healthier and more realistic physique.
However, this does not mean the doll will be free of any future criticism. The brand still emphasizes beauty, fashion and physical appearance, above other potential interests. Although some Barbies are career-focused, the brand should offer more passion-related dolls in a variety of domains (sports, nature, science, business, IT, literature, etc), to prove that Barbies are for anyone – physically and mentally.