With cell phone and jeans, a mature BarbieOh, the times they are a-changin’. So much so, that even that ubiquitous plastic babe, Barbie, has a new look, new friends and even a new attitude.
Barbie’s newest incarnation reflects a more realistic body figure and is aimed at an older buyer. The latest Barbie has a wider waist than her predecessor, who was famous for her inhumanly narrow one. She also has a larger head than the earlier Barbie.
In addition, Barbie’s getups have changed substantially. While Barbies of yore dressed in glittery evening gowns or outfits befitting a medieval princess, My Scene Barbie adopts a modern look.
My Scene is not the usual Barbie doll, acknowledges Kim Sang-kyeong, Korea marketing manager for Barbie manufacturer Mattel, which released the dolls locally in June.
“The earlier Barbie dolls were marketed to girls from age 3 to 8, but My Scene is targeted to an older group of girls from 8 to 13,” Ms. Kim says.
Will older girls play with dolls? “Yes,” replies Ms. Kim. “If you go to any Barbie store in Seoul, you will notice that even middle and high school girls take an interest in Barbie.”
“The Barbie dolls that were targeted for the younger age were designed to help girls develop their imagination with the fairy tale look,” Ms. Kim points out.
With My Scene, Mattel wants to target an age group attuned to pop culture, so modern Barbie dons more stylish threads than before, including jeans and a tank top, and accessories such as sunglasses and a cell phone.
“Girls in their preteens can have a crush on popular celebrities and that’s the look we’re aiming for,” says Park Jeong-hyeon, an executive at GSA Korea, Mattel’s publicity team. “The clothes are not simply doll outfits; they take the form of a total fashion brand.”
Additionally, My Scene Barbie puts forth a bolder personality than before, one that stresses individuality.
“Girls at that age want to be hip and stylish and carry their own look and with My Scene, we hope those cravings will be satisfied,” Ms. Kim says.
Mattel plans on issuing different looks ― with accessories to match ― every three months, switching by the season.
Although Mattel established a presence in Korea just four years ago, the demand for its Barbie dolls has soared in that brief time. Last year, Mattel reported selling more than 600,000 Barbies in Korea.
by Lee Ho-jeong