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4 Lessons from Barbie's Mattel The idea that the most popular Hollywood star is a sixty-four-year-old lady playing the role of a 19 year old girl, just proves that the world of cinema is unpredictable to say the least.

By Kavya Pillai

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Mattel's Barbie has had an incredibly long journey from replacing baby dolls that taught young girls to nurture children and be a doting mother to now being anything they want to by modeling inspiring women. The doll from 2011 to 2015 faced a decline of 30% but currently the toy market that is worth 216 Billion USD and is estimated to grow up to 2.5% annually has Barbie at the second highest rank. The newly released Barbie movie certainly helped in this success. What is clear from the movie's success is that Barbie is more than just a toy, she has become a platform, indeed a franchise, to catalyze important conversations.

These gains are a true victory for Barbie's Mattel, the company backing the popular toy and phenomenon. From the color pink being sold out to the obsession of all generations to dress up as their favorite doll and hit the theater, Mattel witnessed first hand what it means to create a strong global campaign. However this is not all the company has achieved. There are several highs and lows endured by the brand before becoming this success story. Here are four lessons we take away from Mattel's journey.

1. Indian Barbie

In 2009 Mattel launched an indian barbie modeled after the popular Bollywood actor Katrina Kaif. The Barbie doll had entered the Indian market in the 1980s after which Indianised dolls were introduced. The doll modeled after Kaif was introduced on Mattel's 50th Anniversary. This doll that was thought to be inspirational for young girls from India to look up to was soon met with major backlash for it was a far cry from what the average Indian woman looked like. The doll was criticized for idolizing eru-centric features and unhealthy body standards. In 2016 they rectified this mistake by adding a diverse range of dolls to their collection.

2. Inspiring Barbie

Beyond the regular barbie dolls with a short story of what the doll's occupation, likes and dislikes are, Mattel introduces dolls that were replicas of real life women who have achieved great success in their fields. Lis McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel told a newspaper, "Barbie is dedicated to showcasing women who are role models from all backgrounds, professions, and nationalities so that girls around the world can see themselves in careers that might not always seem as accessible." As part of International Women's Day, it unveiled "one-of-a-kind" role model dolls made in the likeness of women STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) leaders.

3. Using Hollywood

Today's generation of young girls who up until the movie promotions were not so enticed with the wonders of a Barbie doll or the games unlike the way Roblox appealed to them. The insane marketing of the film Barbie reintroduced the doll for today's kids. From the insane looks served by the lead actor Margot Robbie who dressed up as iconic barbie dolls to painting an entire town pink, the marketing team was exceedingly innovative in spreading the word. Even a simple news piece informing people that pink paint was in shortage created a great hype for what's to come. This method of using cinema was recently modeled in india by the brand Meesho. The brand created a nail biting trailer for a thriller film starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Ram Charan and Trisha. The extended version of the trailer revealed that this was not a snippet for an upcoming film but an advertisement for Meesho.

4. Strategic Brand Collaboration

On the business front Mattel made strategic brand collaborations to promote its new film. Starting with releasing a poster that created a template for fans to make their own Barbie film poster by changing the actor and slogan to anything they wanted. There did however come a point where netizens were confused on who all are actually in the film! The company then collaborated with Airbnb to replicate the Barbie dream house for people to visit and experience. Apart from that several clothing brands donned new Barbie merch for their customers but that was not all the collaboration left in Mattel. Burger King, the iconic food franchise, introduced a pink burger. "Hi Burger! Hi Barbie! Hi Burger! The Pink Burger, from the BK Barbie Combo, comes in a fluffy brioche bun, high and juicy meat, a slice of well-melted cheddar flavored cheese, the incredible smokey pink sauce and crispy diced bacon," read the description on Burger King Brazil's website.

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