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Internnational Marketin
Barbie fac
ng Mana
ces Islamic
c Dolls 
Case Stu
by Sec A Gro
Executive Summary 
Barbie, most collectible doll in the world. So named by ideator Ruth Handler after daughter Barbara’s 
An Islamic doll is a tool for young Muslim girls to learn. The value of things like education and religious 
piety instead...
15. Physical appearance of Barbie is very different from women in these nations. E.g. Skin tone,
body proportions etc. of ...
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Barbie Doll Case Analysis


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The case on Barbie Doll is used in International Marketing is anaysed.

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Barbie Doll Case Analysis

  1. 1. Internnational Marketin Barbie fac ng Mana ces Islamic   agement  c Dolls    Submitted  Case Stu   by Sec A Gro Abhay Anirud Devan Mana Sachin Vidoo udy  up 6  y Sharma(1A) ddh Srivastav nsh Doshi(16A si Jain(23A) n Gupta(38A) oshi Joshi(55A )  va(9A)  A)  )  A 
  2. 2. Executive Summary  Barbie, most collectible doll in the world. So named by ideator Ruth Handler after daughter Barbara’s  nickname.  Handler found that young girls enjoyed playing out their dreams in adult roles. Barbie made  its debut in the American International Toy Fair in New York on 9 March, 1959. Barbie sells over ₤1  billion annually across 150 countries. Barbie has had over 40 pets, including 21 dogs, 14 horses,  6 cats,  parrot, chimpanzee, panda, lion cub, giraffe  and a zebra and a boyfriend Ken  Not manufactured in USA due to cost related issues. Complex manufacturing  process  • the United States ships the cardboard packaging, paint pigments, and moulds to manufacturing  facilities in China that provides the factory space, labour, electricity, and cotton cloth for Barbie  dresses  • Taiwan refines the oil into ethylene for plastic pellets for Barbie’s body  • Japan attaches nylon hair  She demonstrates girls that they can be anything they want to be—a princess, a teacher, an Olympic  athlete, a doctor etc.  represent varied cultures, regions, and occasions.  Criticism(Barbie syndrome):   Barbie’s curvaceous body and revealing garments are perceived to promote sexuality and promiscuity.  unrealistic body proportions and for promoting materialism associated with amassing cars, houses, and  clothes. Girls tend to develop an inferiority complex, as they grow up, if they can’t look exactly like  Barbie. The desire to attain the physical appearance and lifestyle similar to Barbie has been termed as  ‘Barbie syndrome’  Cultural issues  Banned in Russia because the doll was thought to awaken sexual impulses in the very young, and  encourage consumerism among Russian children. Saudi Arabia, declared Barbie dolls a threat to  morality and offensive to Islam  Islamic Dolls  Mattel markets a Moroccan Barbie and collectors’ doll Leyla that represent Muslim women. Mattel’s  portrayal of the Middle Eastern Barbie as the stereotype of a belly dancer or a concubine hardly  appealed to present‐day Muslim customers. Most Muslim buyers identify more closely with Islamic dolls  Islamic dolls generally show young girls that the hijab (veil). Parents believe that putting scarves on  Islamic dolls their   daughters are learning inculcate the value 
  3. 3. An Islamic doll is a tool for young Muslim girls to learn. The value of things like education and religious  piety instead of focusing on their bodies as the most significant aspect of their lives.  Q1. Explore the secret of Barbie’s success that made it the dream‐toy for girls across the  world  1. Barbie was positioned as the ultimate American girl. She demonstrates girls that they can be anything they want to be—a princess, a teacher, an Olympic athlete, a doctor 2. Represent varied cultures, regions, and occasions 3. Barbie was marketed as a glamorous, physically developed teenage fashion model with a range of fashion accessories 4. The concept expanded beyond a doll with story, boyfriend associated with the character 5. A way for girls to play out their dreams and fantasies in a relevant way   Q2. Sensitivity to culture is crucial to success in international markets. Evaluate Barbie’s  product adaptation for different markets?  6. Barbie has adapted very well to different cultures. 7. Indian Barbies flaunt a saree which have been acceptable by people in India 8. Though the story around Barbie has not been modified to make it more socially acceptable 9. Barbie’s product adaptation in case of middle east has been very superficial 10. Although Mattel was able to introduce barbies with traditional dresses of various cultures, but fine details were missed 11. E.g. Conservative clothes for Islamic nations 12. Barbie might fare well on the grounds of looks of the product but cultural aspirations were not met. E.g. Use of more traditional and family oriented doll for Islamic nations 13. Stereotyping visible in some cases. E.g. Moroccan Barbie wears a belly dancer’s dress which is not routine dress   Q3. Barbie has been criticized for its curvaceous, unrealistic body and materialism, leading to  controversies and its ban in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Russia to what extent are such  criticism and bans justified?  • Bans are only justified if they have scientific backing. E.g. Barbie syndrome has been well  documented in USA, thus a ban on unrealistic Barbie can be justified. E.g. anorexic practices in  the west by teenage girls trying to imitate Barbie have been found which might be a sound  reason for a ban.  • However, bans due to intolerance towards freedom of expression cannot be justified  Q4. Despite adaptation to represent vast ethnic groups, nationalities, and occasions, Barbie  dolls have been jostled out from the Islamic markets. Identify the key reasons.  14. The story of Barbie being very open and individualistic also deviates from actual lifestyle of women in the conservative Islamic markets
  4. 4. 15. Physical appearance of Barbie is very different from women in these nations. E.g. Skin tone, body proportions etc. of Barbie are very different form women living there 16. The attire of Barbie also is very different from any girl in those parts 17. Portrayal of the Middle Eastern Barbie as the stereotype of a belly dancer which doesn’t resonate with girls there. 18. Accessories of Barbie are also more western and were not adapted for Islamic Nations. E.g. Clothing of Barbie   Q5.  In view of the fast‐growing popularity of Islamic dolls among Muslim customers across  the world, suggest a marketing plan to address the specific needs of the Islamic markets.  Also evaluate the impact of suggested plan on the brand image of Barbie in other markets  1. Detailed and thorough market research 2. Understanding of the cultural values and aspirational values 3. In some conservative nations parents are the sole decision makers, thus they must be targeted and not the kids themselves 4. Merchandising should be changed as well 5. E.g. different head scarfs, abaya or Persian cat as compared to normal cats found in USA 6. Promotion and positioning must change from an individualistic character to a conservative one 7. Make dolls that resonate with values and portray an Islamic celebrity like Malala 8. The story of Barbie must be changed for Islamic Barbie Dolls and Barbie must be portrait as conservative, single and family oriented.