Mattel: 2012 is THE year for Barbie and Batman

Doll range up 18 per cent YTD, while Batman toys ?doing great?, says UK general manager; new IP on the way?
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Toy giant Mattel thinks 2012 can be the one of the biggest years of the Bat – and the Barbie doll.

The Barbie business is up 18 per cent year-to-date (source: NPD YTD Fashion Dolls standard category) and is enjoying its largest marketing campaign yet, with online reality TV-style show Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse.

“Barbie is the big one this year,” Mattel’s SVP and general manager for UK and Northern Europe, Geoff Walker, told ToyNews.

“It’s having a great run and we’re excited by another growth year. Barbie is very relevant because every girl has this imagination of either being her or having her as a friend.”

Barbie: The Princess and the Popstar DVD will hit shelves in August in time for Christmas, the first Barbie musical in five years, accompanied by a doll line. For boys, Batman has a big summer focus. A line of toys hit shelves in June ahead of new movie The Dark Knight Rises on July 19th.

This follows the Imaginext Batcave which Mattel says was a ‘really big seller’ in 2011.

“I think Batman is going to have a surprising good year,” added Walker. “The Batman toys have just hit and they’re doing great out of the gate, so we’re very positive.

“We always expected the movie to do well, and the current reads are better than we would have hoped.

“Not a lot of children will see the movie but they will know about it – the brand has a 98 per cent awareness with kids – so they’ll buy into it and we see what we’re doing.”

But it’s not all about established IP. Mattel also wants to break new properties into the toy market.

“One of the key strategies right now is introducing new IP,” explained Walker. “How you generate revenue outside of toys, between licensed products, content and all the other touchpoints, is key to our growth as a company. Monster High was one of the first ones and it’s been phenomenal. As we move forward we’ll have new properties coming out. Whether these get launched in new ways or with more traditional TV shows and movies, we’ll obviously be looking at it.”

Read the full interview with Geoff in the August issue of ToyNews.

Mattel: 01628 500 000

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