Barbie’s poutier, sassier rival, Bratz, is entering the ring again for round two with a more technology-friendly reboot.
MGA Entertainment Inc. is bringing the Bratz dolls back into toy stores on Saturday, July 25. This is after being pulled from shelves in 2009 in the midst of an 11-year legal dispute with the toymaker king and Barbie’s parent, Mattel Inc. Although the decision was reversed in their favor, the Bratz dolls never quite recovered when it came to sales.
Except now, MGA is going at it again, with an approach that is more accommodating to these technology-friendly times. The dolls look mostly the same with their pouty lips and their urban clothing, but they also come digitally connected with apps that allow the girls to create avatars, play games and watch stop-motion videos. The dolls themselves are just as connected and tech-savvy with their own mini smartphones, t-shirts that read “Selfie,” hashtag earrings and, of course, selfie sticks. MGA will also be doing some heavy promotion for these dolls online with YouTube, TV ads and a new website.
This is not good news for Barbie who has been struggling to keep up with modern times and modern girls. Mattel reported that Barbie sales went downwards last quarter, and Barbie even lost her top spot as the number one holiday present for girls last year.
Although they are rivals, both Barbie and Bratz will have to figure out a way to get to girls’ hearts and their parents wallets in this market of entertaining children.