Friday, April 20, 2007

Mattel Launches Barbie-Themed Virtual World

Mattel Launches Barbie-Themed Virtual World
The host of To reclaim marketshare lost to MGA's Bratz, Mattel Inc. reached into the digital frontier. Reuters reported that on Tuesday Mattel launched a beta version of, a virtual community for the shoppers, spa-guests and pet-adopters of tomorrow. is an online community hosted by an animated Barbie in an all-pink environment. New users can build an avatar, then interact with the community at virtual malls, parlors and pet stores.
Recent years have seen a waning interest in the traditional Barbie doll. Last Monday U.S. sales declined 21 percent, abruptly ending a four-quarter streak of nationwide increases.
Meanwhile shelf space for Bratz, a multi-ethnic series of dolls with come-hither expressions, improbable proportions and trendy accessories, has only expanded.
But Mattel is optimistic about BarbieGirl's success on the market. Reyne Rice, a toy trends expert at the Toy Industry Association, said the site is "right on target with what girls are looking for." She expressed confidence in that it will "definitely be a catalyst in winning girls back.", an older website Mattel launched in 2000, currently receives 65 million visitors per month.
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