April 23, 2008
Is Barbie Contributing to her Own Brand Naming Dilution?
The news that Barbie has seen her sales decline by 12% this year is worrying for Mattel, but surely surprising to any parent who has had to keep track of his daughter’s ever expanding collection of ubiquitous toys.
Barbie is still the number one brand name when it comes to girls toys, but girls seem to be pulled in many directions nowadays thanks to video games, iPods and Bratz dolls, to name a few.
Despite the slump, Barbie has experienced a rebirth in the last few years thanks to a whole slew of new movies that see her as empowered, strong and independent. But what does occur to me, as well as to the dads I know who are in the marketing biz and feverishly buy these DVDs for their daughters, is how the Barbie name has become something of a sub-brand when it comes to their naming and branding.
There’s Barbie: The Princess and the Pauper; Barbie: The Twelve Dancing Princesses; Barbie: The Island Princess as well as Barbie: Mermaidia and Barbie: Fairytopia. Not to mention Barbie: Mariposa (think butterflies).
Here’s where it gets tricky. In very few of these movies does Barbie actually get called, Barbie. In Island Princess she’s Rosella, and in Princess and the Pauper the two twin princesses are Annaliese and Erika. In 12 Dancing Princesses she is Gennevieve, and so on.
The idea here is for the viewer to assume that Barbie is playing different parts in the movies, but it’s a stretch. Especially for a five year old, who might feel she has a few Barbies as well as a Mariposa doll.
It looks to me like these are movies given the Barbie seal of approval, rather than movies that feature a character named Barbie (who does in fact speak to the kids when the DVD menu comes up with a cheery “Hi, it’s me, Barbie” but, like some kind of higher power bestowing blessings upon the tale, does not show her face).
Phew. A guy needs a cheat sheet just to keep abreast of all the different brand naming going on here.
With all of these new products being poured on the market, could Barbie be facing brand naming dilution?
Add the thousands of Barbie clones that are out there, and it seems to be that Mattel is contributing to its own problems by creating what look to me like Barbie knock-offs rather than real Barbies.
How about a few movies that star a young woman named Barbie?
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