Barbie – once the pristine powerhouse of perfection was the epitome of beauty, power, and grace embodied in one slender little doll. She was everything that the ideal modern young woman was supposed to be, beautiful, slender, tall, fashionable, pink, a real boss woman, rich, and the most desirable. And also, if you don’t discount it, white-skinned, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed. But in the real world, it just couldn’t cut it, for too long. Because in the real world, blue-eyed, white-skinned, blonde-haired and skinny were no longer the ideal beauty standard.
So even though the brand tried very hard with campaigns like ‘be who you wanna be’, or their body positive dolls, everything that they once stood for was too strong to wash off and has permanently stuck with the image of the company. The Barbie live-action movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken will soon be here. In major nostalgia for 90’s kids, here are also 7 reasons why the Barbie Brand quickly fell from grace:
1. The question of race:
Barbie is a white woman and even though the brand does have dark skinned and black dolls, people were done and ready to let go of this impossible standard of being white. Also, a changing world could no longer fit the Barbie doll into the shoes of an icon for kids.
2. Impossible beauty standards:
The level of glam that exudes out of the brand is one that couldn’t be matched by their actual customers. As the definition of beauty standards continued to evolve, people began to question the effect of imposing impossible beauty standards on children. And the doll started to become less relevant.
3. Better toys:
Much better toys began to flood the market. Customers started opting for toys that were educational, sustainable, and less expensive over a plastic doll with a high price tag. The brand began to be seen as something outdated that couldn’t keep up with the aggressive marketing of other toy brands.
4. Unclear messaging:
The messaging that the Barbie brand was giving out was very much in contradiction with the general brand perception. There seemed to be a lot of confusion about who Barbie really was. A hundred different personas and personalities made it very confusing about what the brand was actually idolising to customers.
The original Mattel Barbie dolls were way beyond the budgets of customers. People started opting for off brand dolls that were duplicating the Barbie brand and were available for a much lower price point. Parents somehow managed to convince their children to settle for dupes or fake Barbies. They just didn’t take the effort to go looking for the original Barbie doll when a cheaper alternative was easily available.
6. Digital Marketing that couldn’t compete:
Barbie vlogs on YouTube, how many people know or care about this? In the world of Digital, Barbie couldn’t stay relevant amidst the intense competition coming from new age children’s cartoon and toy brands like Cocomelon. Even a Netflix series couldn’t save Barbie from becoming so yesteryear.
7. Too much pink:
Pink is synonymous with Barbie and try as they might, they just couldn’t give up with the colour pink because it was such an integral part of the brand image. Giving up the colour pink would mean giving up the entire identity of Barbie altogether. Pink was being shunned by people because of its wanton representation of the feminine. Pink unfortunately led to Barbie’s downfall in today’s day and age.