Barbie competitor Bratz piles on

In the cut-throat business of toy marketing, a competitor's huge pop culture success is always an opportunity. MGA, the maker of Bratz fashion dolls (with a long litigation history of its own), tries to get in on the Barbie movie buzz by claiming their Bratz dolls are part of "resurgence in pop culture during the 'year of the doll.' "

Barbie's parent company had "no intention" of diversifying its product, says Lobel, nor would they allow another company to do so.

"There were all these voices calling for more diversity, more ethnically representative, multi-ethnic dolls. More bratty, contemporary, empowered fashion dolls," Lobel explains. Once Bratz launched as that, it became "the first ever in decades doll that really presented a competition to Barbie."

More importantly, it became the first doll that represented diverse consumers.

Hekmat herself recalls falling "in love" with the Bratz dolls when she first saw them "because they weren't like every other stereotypical, white, blonde doll already on the market at that time. Bratz had attitude and sass, and I loved that the dolls had skin tones like me, different hair textures and were a group of friends."

Previously at Boing Boing.