CASE 4-2 BARBIE: GROWING PAINS AS THE AMERICAN GIRL GOES GLOBAL a. CASE SUMMARY Nowadays, Barbie has become much more cosmopolitan. But some new toy fashion trends spell trouble for Mattel, which depends on Barbie for about 20 percent of its annual sales. However, Although Barbie has been successfully adapted to cultural differences in the U. S. , the opportunities for international growth come with formidable challenges. Now besides the U. S. market, Barbie has been successfully entered into Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia by using different marketing strategies.
Barbie is sold in more than 150 countries. Overall, Barbie is the best-selling toy brand in the world, and Mattel is the world’s largest toy maker. b. EXPLAIN HOW THE MATERIAL IN THE CHAPTER RELATES TO THE CASE Global marketing creates value for customers by improving benefits or reducing price. -Improve the product With the progress of the times, more children and parents’ appreciation of the beauty has become higher and higher. So in view of this situation, Barbie has improved its product, launching more changed stylish clothing to its dolls. -Find new distribution channels
Mattel’s initial attempts to market Barbie in Japan met with limited success. To boost sales, Mattel enlisted the services of Takara, a Japanese toy specialist. After the product and sales improved, a licensing disagreement prompted Mattel to terminate the relationship with Takara and search for a new partner in Japan. In 1986, Mattel joined forces with Bandai, Japan’s largest toy company. Bandai is the new distribution channel in Japan to help Mattel improve the sales. -Create better communications In different countries, Barbie has faced different oppositions on political, religious, and social grounds.
For Japan, Mattel enlisted the services of Takara, a Japanese toy specialist. Through focus groups, Mattel learned that Barbie’s legs were too long and her chest too large-in short, Japanese girls didn’t relate to Barbie’s physical attributes. Also, Barbie’s eyes were changed from blue to brown, and the doll ultimately took on a look that was appealing to the Japanese children’s sense of aesthetics. So Takara Barbie was born in Japan. The new designed Barbie doll was launched by a better communication with Takara. – Cut monetary and non-monetary costs and prices