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‘Barbie’ film: How Mattel reinvented the enduring model



The much-hyped launch of the Barbie film this summer time has captured the eye of popular culture fanatics and toy lovers internationally, with the ‘Barbiecore’ development of sizzling pink coloration infused into retro type infiltrating all the pieces from vogue to gaming consoles and even Airbnb leases. However behind this cinematic extravaganza lies a story of reinvention and strategic prowess by Mattel, the famend toy firm.

Richard Dickson, president and chief working officer of Mattel, make clear the struggles, triumphs, and the way forward for the enduring ‘Barbie’ model in a dialog with Fortune at Cannes Lions—the artistic business’s equal of the Oscars.

A Difficult Street

Whereas Mattel’s legacy spans almost eight many years, it hasn’t all been easy crusing for ‘Barbie’.

Dickson acknowledged the model’s previous struggles, admitting: “Customers didn’t assume that she was related. She didn’t replicate the world that youngsters dwell in.”

This sentiment was strengthened by inner market analysis in 2014 that exposed Barbie’s diminishing enchantment and her incapacity to encourage and symbolize range. Dickson mentioned the model hit its lowest level in over 14 years, marking a pivotal and arduous time for Mattel.

“Mothers have been selecting different manufacturers moreover Barbie, the enterprise itself was reflecting that,” he mentioned.

Reinventing Barbie

To reverse the decline, Mattel launched into a complete rebranding technique, utilizing the playbook which was the springboard to most of the model’s smash-hit successes.

Dickson outlined its 4 key elements, the primary being a reevaluation of the model’s objective. “Why can we even exist? What made us nice to start with?” he mentioned.

For Barbie, it meant reigniting her authentic essence of “inspiring the limitless potential of women”, a imaginative and prescient Ruth Handler, Barbie’s founder, embraced when she created the 11-and-a-half-inch doll.

The second element focuses on design-led innovation, making certain inclusivity and illustration by way of doll growth. Mattel aimed to create dolls that mirrored the varied world round us, together with the discharge of its first-ever doll with Down’s syndrome.

Remaining culturally related is the third pillar of the playbook, enabling Mattel to faucet into the heart beat of society and join with its target market.

Lastly, executing with excellence was paramount, making certain that good concepts seamlessly transition into tangible market choices.

“Nice concepts are nice, however if you happen to can’t deliver them to market, they’re nothing however nice concepts,” Dickson mentioned.

A glimpse into the long run

At the moment, Mattel stands on the precipice of a monumental theatrical occasion—the discharge of the Barbie film starring Hollywood A-listers Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, which was such an unlimited manufacturing effort that it sparked a worldwide scarcity of sizzling pink paint.

However that turnaround has solely been made potential as a result of efficacy of the playbook in observe, and Dickson proudly introduced: “We hit our highest stage of enterprise ever in 2021.”

Mattel’s journey of reinvention, nonetheless, doesn’t finish right here.

Seeking to the long run, Dickson mapped out Mattel’s strategic imaginative and prescient—unlocking the worth of their mental property, or IP.

Whereas Barbie takes the lead together with her foray into the theatrical realm, Mattel has a lineup of 13 different manufacturers in numerous phases of movie growth, starting from theatrical releases to tv reveals, dwell experiences, and digital gaming.

The target is obvious: to current Mattel’s cherished IP by way of fascinating storytelling codecs, thereby boosting toy gross sales, client product relevance, and impression throughout numerous classes.

Because the Barbie film serves as a catalyst, it paves the best way for an period of creativity and content material creation at Mattel.

The corporate’s dedication to unlocking the potential of its IP ensures that audiences can anticipate extra fascinating motion pictures and experiences to come back.

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