Mattel: BarbieGirls.com – BETA*

19 04 2007

barbie.jpg

Cyberspace has become the new front line in the battle between Mattel Inc.’s Barbie line
and MGA Entertainment’s Bratz collection.

On Tuesday, Mattel launched a beta test run of BarbieGirls.com, an online community where girls
can create their own Barbie dolls and interact with each other in a manner reminiscent of
Second Life, a virtual world for adults that boasts more than 2 million users.

The Web site is the first glimpse into Mattel’s Barbie Girl initiative, its next-generation
fashion doll line and latest attempt to gain ground in its heated competition with Bratz.

At BarbieGirls.com, users can customize their character’s look and style.
They can also go to the “mall” and shop for clothes, accessories and furniture for their
online room. They can even adopt a pet.

“I think it’ll definitely be a catalyst for winning girls back,” Reyne Rice, a toy trends expert
at the Toy Industry Association said. “They can go on the site and chat with their friends,
compare outfits — rooms. It’s right on target with what girls are looking for.”

Barbie has lost out in recent years to Bratz, a line of big-headed dolls with scant,
trendy clothing and very skinny bodies.

On Monday, Mattel said international Barbie sales rose 2 percent but U.S. sales of the
doll declined 21 percent, breaking a four-quarter streak of U.S. increases.

Mattel said Barbie.com — its older Web site devoted to all things Barbie, which
debuted in 2000 — gets 65 million visitors a month.

Visit: www.barbiegirls.com

(Source: Reuters.com)

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