Pretty Things

Still dominated by Barbie and Bratz, the fashion doll sector may not be grabbing the headlines as it did, but it is still a hugely important and eye-catching line for retailers. ToyNews checked out the big brands....
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Character’s Disney Princess range is an ever-growing girls’ favourite.

The Disney Princess collection features Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella, Belle and Sleeping Beauty. Each Princess in the Charming Collection comes with a ball gown decorated with charms that can be removed to make a Disney charm bracelet. There are four Princesses to collect, which each come with a brush and comb for girls to style their soft hair.

Girls can now add to their Charming collection with even more including Charming Horses – each with long hair and a special horse blanket.

There’s also a Charming Singing Sleeping Beauty, which sings when its necklace is pressed.

Also new are the mini dolls, miniature versions of the Disney Princesses, less than 10cm in height, allowing girls to create a miniature Disney Princess world.

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There are four different Bratz themes launching this autumn/winter.

The Bratz Designed By... collection features catwalk- inspired outfits and, as well as a selection of stylish
accessories, Yasmin, Cloe, Jade and Sasha come complete with their own signature perfumes, for girls to wear. There are four dolls to collect, retailing at around £19.99 each.

Yasmin, Cloe, Jade and Sasha really show off their rock-chick style credentials as part of the Bratz Girlz Really Rock collection. Each doll comes with two outfits, guitar and one other musical instrument, plus an assortment of accessories and retails at £19.99.

In addition, Bratz Girlz Really Rock, the first musical movie, will be launched on DVD in October.

Bratz Kidz and Bratz Lil Angelz are also launching some new lines this autumn/winter. Bratz Kidz Concert doll assortment is aimed at the younger end of the market. Each doll comes with Snap- On pop star, rock star and ballerina outfits, plus legs in different poses. They retail at around £14.99.

Bratz Lil Angelz Doctor Time is the most interactive product the range has ever seen, according to the company. Unique characters include Yasmin, whose cheeks light up when she has a fever, and her 15 pets, including a monkey that cries real tears. Retail price is around £19.99

MGA Entertainment will support the Bratz brand in autumn/winter with a heavyweight TV and PR campaign.

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Mattel continues to lead the fashion doll category with over 54 per cent share, according to NPD figures.

Autumn sees a number of new developments plus break-frame marketing initiatives for Barbie, along with continued development and support of the two Disney entertainment properties High School Musicaland Hannah Montana.

With over 40 million DVDs sold, Barbie is a firmly established entertainment brand. Spring movie Mariposa enjoyed huge success, with DVD sales increasing by 50 per cent and a 16 per cent increase on doll sales year-on-year.

Barbie and The Diamond Castle receives the earliest ever release date for an autumn movie in September helping to maximise sales.

The best friends-themed DVD is a traditional princess movie with a modern twist; a contemporary, pop style soundtrack, which features the lead song sung by Suzanne Shaw. To drive sales and create excitement at retail, Barbie will give away a free celebrity-presented singing tuition and karaoke DVD with every purchase of the Princess Liana doll.

For the first time ever, Barbie Entertainment will release a third movie: its first Christmas property Barbie In A Christmas Carolrolls out in November. Girls will be able to bring the magic of the movie to life with a supporting doll and licensed range.

Evergreen reality portfolio Barbie’s Life will bring strong product innovation, support programmes and retailer initiatives. New products include the beauty statement Candy Glam, which features scented dolls and lifestyle accessories, gift set Barbie and Tawny Horse and Colt, where girls can help Barbie care for a baby horse and fun Triple Tricks where girls can help Barbie’s pet puppies perform competition-winning tricks with hoops and tunnels.

Also new for autumn is a new collectible range for younger girls.

Petites Club features a series of mini princesses tucked inside a locket. There are over 35 dolls to collect, all available in different designs.

Barbie will support the autumn range with a comprehensive marketing initiative with two of the UK’s leading children’s TV partners. The communication programme will take in TV, online and direct to girl activity capturing girls in all mediums. A focused TV advertising campaign will ensure constant TV presence from August coupled with retailer promotions helping to drive footfall in store and excitement for the brand.

Mattel’s High School Musical range is enjoying a phenomenal year with 18 per cent category share and with two items in the top ten fashion doll category. With over 250 million viewers having watched High School Musicaland 181 million viewers having seen HSM 2, the release of the highly anticipated HSM3 on October 17th looks set to drive further excitement in Mattel’s range ofmusical feature dolls and playsets. Marketing support will include a heavyweight TV campaign and PR.

Mattel’s other Disney partnership is a doll and accessories range based on number one girls TV show Hannah Montana. With over four million UK girls watching the TV series, Mattel’s portfolio is already the fastest growing fashion doll line of 2008. The range has achieved five per cent of the fashion doll category share after only four weeks in the market, with the Hannah Montana doll hitting the top three fashion dolls.

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Cheries by Corolle are dolls dressed in the latest fashions paired with modern accessories.

Suitable for girls five years plus, each Cherie doll measures 33cm in length and comes packaged in a clear presentation box. There are six dolls in the range including Camille and Chloe Ballerinas and a further four dolls showing off up-to-the-minute day wear: Camille Pink Streaks, (with pink streaks in its hair), and Clara, Chloe and Cathy.

There are a plethora of doll outfits to choose from, including cropped trousers, jeans, dresses, tunics and wrap tops. Then to complete the look, hats, scarves, necklaces and hair accessories can be added.

The dolls themselves have perfectly in proportion vinyl bodies and authentic features such as perfectly coloured skin, moving eyes and freshly glossed lips. They also boast a mane of shiny hair which is ideal for play grooming and styling.

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