Barbie is on Life Support


Photographer WillyStylist XuJob1249680Bretouch: Peter KayeA true American icon, the fantasy of every little girl, Barbie, is on life support.

Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls, said its 2nd quarter net profits fell 24 percent.  The company’s shares dropped five percent Wednesday.

As Barbie is reaching her ‘golden years,’ she is 54, Mattel believes that their ‘Monster High,’ and other dolls are the reason for Barbie’s slow but steady demise.

Monster High dolls have risen in popularity since their release in 2010.  They are the imagined offspring of famous monsters.  In their short life, they have already made about 500 million dollars for Mattel.  Barbie’s sales have averaged 1.3 billion dollars annually.

Mattel’s other dolls, such as American Girl, and Disney Princesses are doing very well, according to a company spokesman.

“We’ve introduced new franchises that have fueled significant category growth for the industry,” said CEO Bryan Stockton “The Barbie brand is likely being modestly impacted by their successes.”

In Portage, Wisconsin, 10-year-old Olivia Maddux has been playing with her Barbie dolls since she was three years old.  Olivia’s mother gave her a Monster High doll a year ago.

“I look at Olivia and some of her friends and see they’re growing out of Barbies,” says Olivia’s mom, Lisa Maddux, 42, a freelance writer.

Don’t begin looking for a burial plot for the iconic blue-eyed blonde just yet.  She still leads the world in annual sales, but has experienced a slow decline, while other lines are in a steady growth pattern.  Mattel says that overall, doll revenues are up six percent.

Maybe Barbie’s experiencing a mid-life crisis at 54, but, then again, don’t we all slow down a little by that age.  And she is being pushed by three-year-olds, it just doesn’t seem fair.

Barbie may be on life support, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she rallied.  She is a survivor.

Alfred James reporting