Case study 1


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Case Study on Impact of Cultural Environment on International Marketing.

Source: Global Marketing Management by Keegan and Helsen

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Case study 1

  1. 1. SELLING BRATZDOLLS IN ASIA—‘‘HOOKER CHIC’’ DOESNOT CATCH ON Case Study Source: ‘‘Asia balks at Bratz’s ‘hooker chic’ image,’’ Media, December 16, 2005, p. 16,
  2. 2. CASE STUDY Bratz is a range of streetwise dolls marketed by MGA Entertainment ( The dolls have taken the United States and Europe by storm. Global sales in 2004 hit US$2.5 billion, compared to Barbie’s $3 billion. You only need to take a stroll in any toy store in the United States or Europe to witness the impact of Bratz. Instead of Barbie’s signature pink, the shelves are black and purple—the colors of Bratz.
  3. 3. In Europe and the United States, the Barbie look is now passé among teenage girls in spite of an image and lifestyle makeover. Many observers of the industry wonder whether Barbie has any future left. What made Bratz a runaway success in the United States and Europe is that Bratz dolls resonate far more strongly with today’s generation of teenage girls who have grown up with MTV and lifestyle magazines like Dolly and Seventeen. Some commentators refer to the Bratz dolls’ funky image as ‘‘hooker chic.’’ Barbie, however, reflects the bygone era of 1950s Americana.
  4. 4. In Asia, however, the story is completely different. Bratz dolls caused some hoopla when they were first launched109 in the region, but since then reactions have been rather muted. There has been virtually no marketing since then. The success story of Bratz in Europe and the United States has so far not been replicated in Asia. There are a couple of possible causes behind Bratz failure to catch on. A range of distributors across different markets, each with inputs at the local level, has made it difficult to coordinate promotional efforts.
  5. 5. Barbie reflects a nostalgic image of America. However, many Asian girls (and their mothers) are not familiar with Bratz. MGA may also have misjudged the Asian market. Play-patterns and role models Asian girls differ from their American and European peers. Barbie and Hello Kitty dolls still hold strong allure among Asian girls (and even women). One important factor in Asia is the mother: in Asia, it is typically the mother who buys toys. The funky image of Bratz dolls with their hip looks, heavy make-up, and short skirts might be far too risqué for mothers in Asia.
  6. 6. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Examine what cultural factors hindered the take-off of Bratz in Asia despite the dolls’ phenomenal success in the United States and in Europe. 2. Discuss what MGA Entertainment can do to boost the sales of Bratz dolls in Asia.