The Rise and Fall of Bratz
If you have little friends that you shop for, you probably have heard of Bratz. If you have female children, you probably have even bought Bratz dolls for them. Ever since Bratz was released in 2001 as a direct rival of Barbie, 125 million of the dolls were sold worldwide, despite the poor reception. In 2005, global sales of the Bratz dolls and their products reached two billion dollars! These dolls were designed by Carter Bryant and manufactured by toy company MGA Entertainment.
As a matter of fact, this line was called the queen of the fashion doll world. In the UK, Bratz toppled Barbie from her long-standing position as the UK’s best selling fashion doll. They snatched 45% of the market.
The chief executive of Bratz, Nick Austin, said this about the sales:
Bratz came from nowhere and captured the hearts and minds of a new generation of girls. This is a real David versus Goliath marketing story, where an iconic, classic brand has been toppled by an entrepreneurial competitor with a brand more relevant to today’s fast-changing consumer.
Very popular, yes? Some of my little friends think of their Bratz dolls as the standard for feminine beauty. One of them bought a doll and named if after a good friend. When she told her good friend, who was much older… well, this is how it happened.
*Gazed with starry eyes at friend* “I named my doll after you because you look just like her.”
If you go on the Bratz website (which I do NOT recommend doing, as it’s hard to navigate) you’ll see the marketing slogans. The slogan is “Passion for Fashion”; the website’s loading message is, “It takes time to look this good,” and the exit message is “Above all else, be beautiful.” These slogans are central to what Bratz is all about. What are these dolls? Fashionable. What do they have? A passion for fashion. My opinion is that the marketing people know how much little girls these days like to dress up… just like their older sisters. What little girl hasn’t sat with her mother in the bathroom just to watch her mom put on lipstick? Even I used to sit with my grandmother and watch her put on cold cream.
Remember one thing. These dolls’ clothes are NEVER out of style. Their makeup is always perfect and glamourous. Their hair is long and flowing and trendy.
In fact, Bratz is so popular that it has led to several different lines. There’s the Bratz Boyz. There’s also Bratz Babyz. Presumably, the Bratz Boyz are the Bratz boyfriends. The Bratz Babyz are what? The younger sisters of Bratz? Maybe. And they ALL have a passion for fashion.
Before they were Bratz‘, they were Bratz Babyz!™ But just because they’re babies doesn’t mean they have a small sense of style! These are the hippest, funkiest, craziest babies around, and they have all the passion for fashion that the Bratz™ are known for!
The Boyz don’t really have much “features” to think of. But the Babyz are really hip. If you clicked on the link I gave you (Bratz Babyz) you’ll see a list of cool features these dolls have. Each one comes with manicured fingers and toes! (When I was a baby, I could have cared less. Fingernails were food.) Each of them has the style and personality of the Bratz Girl! Molded hair, soft goods clothing, Roto vinyl head and body! They also have stud earrings. (I didn’t get my ears pierced until I turned 11.) Don’t forget the Designer Diaper.
I want a Designer Diaper. I had to grow up with Pampers.
Don’t forget the Bratz Petz. These animals are strutting their passion for fashion. There’s Catz and there’s Dogz. They all have the same slanty eyes that the Bratz girls have. They are also in style, always. Their clothes are the same. (The one on the right is naked, sorry.) They wear such things as leather jackets, tight leopard print pants, and black designer handbags. Along with faux fur at their wrists and necks. Their lips are an alluring red.
When I hit the catwalk, it’s a fashion frenzy! No matter what the style — I wear it. I strut it and I flaunt it! Take it from me… the cat’s out of the bag, and into some kickin’ threads!
I roll with the sizzlin’ street styles and coolest clothes! If it looks good or sounds great, I’m on it! And I’m about to jump on the scene with some of the funkiest fashions yet! Get ready girls, ’cause here I come!
Don’t forget the toothbrushes. After all, Funky Fashion starts with a Sizzling Smile! I saw this Bratz toothbrush while doing my research. If a toy is popular enough, you’ll soon have clothes, stickers, stationery, books, more clothes, makeup, and toothbrushes. Not to mention toothpaste that at least has their picture on it if nothing else. Except glitter. This toothbrush is electric. It features the latest Bratz fashions (The toothbrush with a passion for fashion, this toothbrush never goes out of style!) It has a small, oscillating head with extra soft bristles. The fun, 3d design encourages kids to brush. (Picture a sexy Cloe doll saying in a sultry voice, “Brush, baby…”) It’s also specially designed for girls ages 6-13 (which is the age range for the line anyway).
However, when these dolls came out, parents were concerned. Very concerned. This writer expressed concern that these dolls were too sexualized, too stereotyped, and encouraged girls to grow up too fast. Just look at the petz… are these toys encouraging our daughters to chase after every single fashion trend just because it’s society’s perceived notion of “coolness?” Are these toys encouraging our daughters to learn how to be sexy/sassy and that being so is desirable at such a young age?
This article also expressed some worries.
What Bratz dolls are both contributing to and feeding on is a culture in which girls play at being “sassy” — the toy industry’s favored euphemism for sexy — and discard traditional toys at a younger age.
One of the spokespersons said in reply, “Little girls are really much more sophisticated now than they used to be.”
With Bratz, the company is selling the notion that divahood is something for girls to aspire to, with or without a talent to go with it. This is the attitude that fuels, for example, the success of Club Libby Lu, the chain of mall stores where six-year-olds can get makeovers for their birthdays, complete with hair extensions and lip gloss; it’s also the attitude behind T-shirts for little girls bearing slogans such as “So Many Boys, So Little Time” and “My Heart Belongs to Shopping.” Many parents find this aesthetic weird, even repellent, but somehow hard to dodge.
The Onion has their own concerns.
In Beyond The Facts, we examine how Bratz are convincing a generation of girls that to be hip and beautiful they have to have gigantic heads.
Those concerns have been laid to rest. As fast as Bratz came, it was gone. After about eight years, Bratz celebrated their last Christmas. A federal judge in California ordered their recall. The reason? They violated a Mattel copyright. The man that designed them was still under contract for Mattel. Therefore, all the Bratz dolls were taken off the shelves and shipped back. No more of the dolls are being made. This may cause consumer frenzy as some people will try to buy as many as they can before they come off the shelves. However, some people will be happy to see the dolls go.
Meanwhile, watch some of the ads here on Youtube.
Good bye, Bratz.