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Barbie’s in the dustbin as ‘Generation Z’ dolls mount an intelligent assault

Despite new-wave feminism, one apparently irreversible trend is that girls play with dolls (and boys with proto-military Bratz-eEequivalents). But time does move on, and the 56-year niche offered by Mattel’s ever-changing Barbies is being contested – mainly by rebooted Bratz dolls, product of MGA Entertainment. Both companies (and some newcomers) are having to face up to the truth that the 9-11-year market needs more than the flaccid Barbies longing for Ken dressed in spacesuits. This demographic (“Generation Z”) is part of the digitial remaking of the world itself – and so the new Bratz play-things can be bought with mobile phones and Twitter hashtags; and even Siri-style operating systems and avatars. That Bratz products have imitated Barbie in the past has been through an arduous legal turn-and-turn-about odyssey. Perhaps the first real attainment of artificial intelligence will arrive when your daughter’s Bratz starts to ask questions about you. – Peter Wilhelm

Bratz

By Claire Boston

(Bloomberg) – Look out, Barbie: the Bratz are back. A rebooted version of the pouty, heavily made-up fashion dolls will hit toy aisles on Saturday after an 11-year legal battle between Bratz’s MGA Entertainment Inc and Barbie’s Mattel Inc.

The Bratz franchise was a hit with girls a decade ago, before a judge ordered them to be pulled from shelves in 2009 over an intellectual-property dispute. Though that decision was reversed, the Bratz line fell into a slump. Now MGA is taking another stab at the doll market and trying to adjust to the shifting tastes of young girls. Today’s youths, known as Generation Z, are a heavily plugged-in group who have gravitated toward customisable features. They also have plenty of apps and other digital entertainment to choose from — something that wasn’t the case in Bratz’s heyday.

“Of course, they still play with toys and do imaginative play, but they’re digitally connected,” MGA Chief Executive Officer Isaac Larian said in an interview. “We’re bringing those two things together in many ways.” Thus, Bratz’s revamped dolls come with tie-in technology that lets girls download an app, create customizable Bratz avatars, and watch online stop-motion videos featuring the dolls. The new “selfie-styles” line also comes with mobile phones and earrings shaped like Twitter hashtags.

This isn’t Bratz’s first comeback bid. The dolls got a style makeover in 2010 that added leggings under short skirts and swapped halter tops for long sleeves. Fans complained that the new dolls weren’t the same quality as the old ones. MGA also experimented with new doll bodies, logos and slogans before pulling Bratz in 2014 to overhaul the brand.

Larian said the company lost “the DNA of the product”. To appeal to its vocal community of older collectors, MGA brought back the chunky purple Bratz logo it scrapped in 2013 and made sure the new lines included the four main dolls that debuted in 2001. The dolls were shrunk from a 12-inch body tested in 2013 back to their original 10-inch size.

MGA, a closely held company based in Los Angeles, is planning a marketing push to accompany the new dolls. That will include YouTube spots, TV ads, and a new website. After this summer’s rollout, the brand will release fall, winter and study-abroad themed dolls before the end of the year.

For Mattel, the renewed competition brings another headache to a company trying to stage its own turnaround. Barbie sales plunged 19 percent last quarter as the 56-year-old doll struggles to connect with modern girls. Mattel aims to update Barbie’s image with a Siri-style version of the doll later this year, though that effort has drawn criticism for potentially violating kids’ privacy.

The legal feud between the two companies stemmed from an allegation that Bratz designer Carter Bryant was working at Mattel when he came up with the concept. El Segundo, California-based Mattel sued MGA over the matter in 2004. MGA, meanwhile, argued that Mattel’s “My Scene” Barbies too closely resembled the Bratz line.

A judge ordered MGA to turn the property over to Mattel, but that decision was reversed. In the fight’s latest iteration, MGA is seeking $1-billion from Mattel, saying the company keeps a “how-to-steal” manual to help employees collect trade secrets about Bratz at toy shows. The suit, filed in January 2014, is continuing.

Both Mattel and MGA are facing fierce competition in the doll industry, said Jim Silver, who runs the toy review website TTPM. It may be tough for Bratz to win back its former glory. “There’s always opportunity — the question is what size will that opportunity be,” Silver said. “In terms of brands, the fashion doll aisle is as crowded as it’s ever been.”

The 6- to 11-year-old girls who once adored Bratz can now choose between Disney princess and Frozen dolls, Hasbro Inc’s My Little Pony Equestrian Girls and Mattel’s Monster High and Ever After High lineup. Larian isn’t worried about the competition. Spooky dolls — Monster High’s niche — are “over” and largely derivative of the aging “Twilight” franchise, he said. Today’s girls look for dolls they can customize with mix-and-match styles and share on social media.

“That creates a wide space for Bratz, for self-expression and creativity,” Larian said. “We’re basically going to be where the girls are with this brand.”

Bratz Dolls are Officially Back and They’ve Got a Whole New Look!

Bratz dolls are being relaunched, and they have a whole new look from the Bratz you knew and loved in middle school. Bratz "Generation Z" includes the four core dolls you remember — Cloe, Yasmin, Jade and Sasha  —  along with a new BFF, Raya. Most notably, the dolls' wardrobe, accessories and play-sets have been completely updated to keep them totally on trend, selfie sticks and all. bratz-official

Not only do the dolls have a new look, but a new YouTube channel and mobile app as well, so you can channel your inner child and immerse  yourself into the Bratz world like never before. 

The new Bratz "Generation Z" dolls will be unveiled on  July 25.

New ‘Bratz’ more Taylor Swift than Britney: CEO


After legal battles led to their removal from retailer shelves in 2009, MGA Entertainment's Bratz dolls are back, with a noticeable makeover.

"Today they are more like Taylor Swift" than fellow singer Britney Spears, MGA Chief Executive Isaac Larian said Tuesday—changing with the times since Bratz were first introduced in 2001.

"It was a different era. There was no Twitter, there was no Facebook, there was no Instagram," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"It's fascinating how things have changed."

According to Larian, the relaunch of Bratz brings more of a strong, intelligent sensibility to the brand. But he did say the wacky proportions of the original Bratz are here to stay: "They don't look like real people. That's intentional to bring some humor."

MGA is suing Mattel, the company behind Barbie, for $1 billion for alleged trade secret theft—the latest in a legal battle that started in 2004, when Mattel sued MGA.

At their peak, Bratz's wholesale revenue was $500 million versus competitor Barbie's $1.5 billion. As Bratz remerge in the toy market, they are up against Barbie's current wholesale revenue of $900 million.

Starting in August, kids will be able to customize their own Bratz online, with the option to make them engineers or doctors. "They can be anything they want. They are independent. They say who they are."

On "Squawk Box" Tuesday, Larian brought customized Bratz dolls of show anchors Joe Kernen, Andrew Ross Sorkin, and Becky Quick.

New Bratz Dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good to Be Yourself”

Bratz dolls are back! After being on "vacation" for a couple of years, a new and improved version of the dolls will hit store shelves on July 25th—and they've got a look and message that won't make parents cringe.Bratz-Advertisement-Still-4-copy-675x379

The Bratz line, made by MGA Entertainment, still has a "passion for fashion" but also has new mantra of "It's good to be yourself." In short, I find them less bratty. They've still got giant heads with huge eyes on tiny bodies, but they are wearing way less makeup and overall look more innocent and cute and they have a message I can get behind. The revamp of the entire line was designed to embody the interests, passions and personalities of the modern day girl and encourage self-expression, individuality, confidence and creativity.

In addition to giving a new look and feel to the core Bratz friends with the "Hello My Name Is" collection (Jade, Yasmin, Cloe and Sasha each come with outfits and accessories true to their individual interests and hobbies), the relaunch added new collections like "Study Abroad" and "Fierce Fitness." Each Study Abroad doll adopts a different culture's traditional fashion and styles and incorporates them into their own wardrobe, which I think is a fun way to get girls interested in new countries around the world. Fierce Fitness dolls showcase healthy hobbies in the most fashionable and fun way, like how Cloe can hit the hiking trails with her visor, backpack and binoculars or Jade can revv up for a race with her sports bag, comb and hydration bottle. Similiar to the fitness-themed collection, Bratz's new "#SnowKissed" collection celebrates the doll's love for fun winter activities, with each doll equipped to hit the slopes in stylish snow gear and a sticker sheet to customize their snowboards, sleds or skis. Considering how important it is to teach kids that exercise should be a regular part of their lives, I think this is a cool way for dolls to contribute to the lesson.

Creativity is a key element of the new dolls, so the Create-It-Yourself Fashion Set gives girls the freedom to design their own Bratz fashions with a rotating platform and mannequin to decorate an outfit for their Bratz doll. Exclusive Bratz collections at Target will include a "Create-A-Bratz" online experience where kids can design their own doll, outfits, and accessories, while Wal-Mart will have an exclusive on the Sleepover Party with Sleepover Spa & Hair Studio.

Of course, technology is huge with modern-day girls, so Bratz has a new #SelfieSnaps collection, too. Each doll comes with tech-inspired accessories, their own smartphone and two phone cases, as well as her own "selfie snap" style and fun emoji icons. The dolls will also have a new Bratz selfie app and original stop-motion webisodes available on Bratz's YouTube channel.

Bratz 2015, see what’s new with Bratz

In July 2015, a set of new bratz dolls were released, introducing a new main character Raya, bratz-raya

a new slogan 'It is good to be a Bratz', and a new website design bratz-website.

The Bratz logo was also reverted to the original font. The bodies were changed to be 10" tall again, but with a new body and head mold. The face paint was changed to match the new artwork that was heavily inspired by the original artwork. A stop-motion web series premiered in August, 2015. The Bratz app was released in September 2015 to accompany the new dolls and web series.

From Amazon, we can find new 2015 Bratz series.

Related articles of Bratz 2015 below:

 

Bratz on Parents.com

New Bratz dolls tell girls “It’s Good to Be Yourself”

Published July 01, 2015

Bratz on Forbes.com

Barbie, Beware? Bratz Back on Shelves Amid Billion-Dollar Mattel Battle

Published July 21, 2015

 

Bratz on Cosmopolitan.com

‘90s Girls Rejoice: Bratz Dolls Are Back!

Published July 24, 2015

 

Bratz on Seventeen.com

Bratz Dolls are Officially Back and They’ve Got a Whole New Look!

Published July 24, 2015

Bratz on CNBC Squawk Box

New ‘Bratz’ more Taylor Swift than Britney: CEO

Published July 28, 2015

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