March 16, 2006
Product Naming: Barbie Beaten by the Bratz
I found a recent Time article that points out what parents of little girls everywhere have already discovered: Barbie is "dead", and long live the Bratz, the "Girls with a Passion for Fashion".
At least one Standard and Poor analyst has suggested that the Barbie brand has been "permanently weakened" by the new Bratz: a gaggle of clothes-and-makeup obsessed, pouty-mouthed dolls that look too cool (and too edgy) to even bother stealing Ken from goody-two-shoes Barbie.
Brand names ending in a letter "z" gained popularity with the advent of the 1991 "Boyz n the Hood" movie. This naming technique is used across many categories:
- Oreo Cookie Barz
- Jim Beam Sourz whiskey
- Twizzlerz Sourz
- Chainz puzzle game
But don't' forget the Kraft's Cheez Wiz, which has been enjoyed by generations of children and adults, existed way before the "Boyz n the Hood" movie.
The name Bratz, with its use of the "z" to signify the edginess of hip hop urban life, fits nicely into the street 'tude that is sold to young kids. The Bratz' online and offline sales material use words like kickin' cool, superstylin and scorchin as opposed to the much more wholesome sales copy used to sell Princess Barbie.
One woman academic says the Bratz look like a "pack of sultry hookers", but admits that Barbie is now "for babies" and the edgier, raunchier rivals are taking over the toy box. Their creators, MGA entertainment, sold 50 million dolls and moved $600 million of Bratz merchandise in their first three years of existence (2001-2003).
Sorry, Barbie, I think at 50 years old, you just can't keep up - even now that you have a brand new and improved Ken Doll to play with. Today's young girl doesn't want the wholesome cuteness of Barbie, she wants the brattiness of the Bratz - and no boyz allowed.
For more on Bratz check out these blogs:
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