Barbie Braces for Doll Wars

Upstarts move in while Mattel hits back
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 2:02 PM CDT
"Barbie So In Style."   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Barbie remains the best-selling doll in the world, but she's in a dogfight. Mattel is banking on a new iteration—complete with 12 movable joints—called “Fashionista Barbie” to combat incursions from the likes of Spin Master's “Liv” dolls, and MGA’s “Moxie Girlz.” The Wall Street Journal checks in on the toy wars and finds Mattel’s opponents to be cocky: “The Fashionista Barbies don't even come with a hairbrush,” says MGA’s founder. “Liv is a friend,” says Spin Master (whose toy has 14 movable joints). “Liv is now.”

Mattel seems unbowed by the pressure. “We were born in 1959, and a thousand brands have come and gone since then,” an exec says. “I appreciate the competitive conversation. But Barbie has remained the No. 1 ranked doll in the world.” The new version has multiple personalities—wild, artsy, cutesy, glamorous, sassy, and girlie—and the company thinks it’s entrée into the glitzy 21st century will fly. Watch your back, competitors say.