Mattel hopes to lure back tweens with a little Flava
In its latest attempt to win back Barbie fans who’ve strayed to MGA Entertainment’s Bratz, Mattel released a line of dolls it hopes will meet the eight to 10 set’s craving for hip fashion. Called Flavas, which is urban slang for personal style or flavor, the new doll line features six characters – four girls and two boys – all sporting a unique hip-hop style.
The dolls hit store shelves in August at an SRP of US$13.99 and were promoted on singer Christina Aguilera’s Stripped summer tour. In a unique twist, the members of the Flavas crew each have different face sculpts, bodies and heights ranging from 10 to 11.5 inches. The dolls also have 10 points of articulation rather than the usual five. Two dolls for each Flava character were released at launch, with different fashions, hairstyles, makeup and even eye color; for example, one Happy D doll is sporty, while the other looks street. Mattel is planning to roll out new SKUs of each doll at the end of October (again creating two versions of each character), along with new accessories and a boat.
Brainy Baby goes high tech with VTech
Smart babies will soon have some new gadgetry to help them in the first stages of early learning. Wheeling, Illinois-based VTech has signed on with Alpharetta, Georgia’s Brainy Baby to use the right-and-left-brain development system the company devised for its line of videos. VTech is currently in the process of developing a line of 15 electronic toys for babies and infants that will be available in multiple channels of distribution in early spring.
Brainy Baby also recently signed a deal with Bendon Publishing to adapt its educational strategy to a line of 16 books. The Brainy Baby titles will be sold in mass-market outlets, grocery and drug stores, book chains and specialty toy retailers starting in Q4 2003. ‘These licenses provide a key point of differentiation in this category for retailers who are barraged with character-driven entertainment licenses,’ says Jeff Quinn, licensing director for Brainy Baby. ‘Educational products are currently under-represented in infant and children’s product categories.’
Editor’s note: The electronic version of this article has been edited from the original print version in order to correct or clarify some information that it contained.