Bratz Dolls Say Goodbye To the Toy Industry

23 Oct

Bratz 2001

After a year long hiatus, Bratz returned to the doll scene in 2015. However, MGA decided to take the Bratz in a whole new direction. Thus, the doll line suffered. It’s bad enough that children seldom want to play with toys anymore, especially with tablets around.

MGA tried too hard to appeal to the wrong demographic and took away what made the brand special.

To read more about the Bratz story: What Happened to the Bratz?

For the past year and a half, the Bratz dolls have been suffering in sales. As a result, MGA confirmed in an email to a fan that they are planning to discontinue the Bratz this year. šŸ˜¦

The fashion doll industry is dying out dueĀ to low funds to support doll lines, lack of inspiration, soccer moms, and radical feminists (who have been against Barbie’s “sexualization” and Bratz’s “attitude” and “materialism”Ā for years now and have been influential when it came to stopping girls from buying these dolls). Apparently, having a passion for fashion is considered “anti-empowering” for women. Further, I guess the soccer moms just couldn’t let these dolls thrive, no matter how hard MGA tried to compromise with them.

As a long-time super crazy Bratz fan, it is the saddest doll news I ever had to tell.

What saddens me most is not the fact that the Bratz will no longer be around, but the fact that they had so much potential. The Bratz dolls had the ability to bring the future of fashion (and a bit of history) to a fashion doll line–In a REALLY fashionable way. When I look back at Bratz Rock Angelz, for example, I remember a time when everyone wanted to be in a rock band. I reminisce on the styles of 2005 through that line. Bratz kept a record of the trends. I loved that about them. No other fashion doll line is doing that right now. None areĀ capturing our generation’s fashions.

MGA mentioned in the email that this won’t be permanent. But I’m done believing they will bring back the awesome Bratz they once had. They got rid of the original designer, the court cases exhausted most of their funds, and social agendas in the world are influencing MGA’s direction. The only way the Bratz could get back on top is if MGA had the money to get them there and a designer who understood the original designer’s vision.

My next best bet is that another company buys out the brand and makes it awesome. The likelihood is slim, considering “rights” issues and all, but it’s a hope of mine.

My other big optional hope is that the original Bratz designer will gain the rights to the dolls once again and take the brand to a company who will really bring the vision to life.

If the Bratz make a return in a couple of years, when people are feeling nostalgic, there are a few things they truly would need to make it successful. Back in 2001, Bratz suffered at debut. AĀ couple of things were needed to help boost the Bratz reputation. Any future designers and producers of the Bratz should take note.

1. Advertisements with Animation, a TastefulĀ Tune, andĀ withĀ Girls 10 to 14Ā 

The coolest part about the first Bratz commercial was the animation mixing with the real girls.Ā It was very interactive, fun, and funky.

Having older girls in the commercials made it sassier. The Bratz wasn’t written off as something that was just meant for little children when people saw older girls in the commercials. With older girls, it clearly seemed to appeal to the Tween market. If felt like something tweens and teens could relate to.

The Tween market has a lot of power nowadays, especiallyĀ when dealing with social media and current trends in general. They register the world more than smaller kids do. If you want to bring power to a brand, tweens and teens will more than likely obsess with it before children will. It will help the brand stand out, like it used to.

The new commercial failed to do that, which was why it failed to promote the Bratz very well. The only thing good about it was the song “What’s Up?”

2. Give the DollsĀ a Glossy Eyed Look with Nice Make-up

13346-bratz1

Forget what feministsĀ and soccer momsĀ say. Make-up is and always has been ART, since Ancient Egypt. The Bratz used make-up in a very unique and artistic way in EVERY line. The glossy eyes added attitude and sass. They looked fierce and stylish.

The doe eyes make them look like deer who are lost in a forest. It’s bad enough people come after the Bratz for the head and feet. Now they hate the eyes.

Future designers should not let Tree Change Dolls intimidate them. Those dolls are are not examples of art or creativity, just something slapped together to push social agendas. There was no inspiration behind those dolls. I’m sorry, not sorry. Bratz need to stay away from lines that mirror Tree Change.

Bratz needs to stick with what they do best and they are best a defying expectations when it comes to style.

3. Cut the Girlishness, Bring the EDGE

I’m sorry, but if Bratz is going to be back on top, it also has to appeal to the boys, like it once did. Bratz was for everyone. You won’t believe the number of MALE fans! Why? Because Bratz was not afraid to step over boundaries.

The one thing that annoys me about many doll lines today is that they only come with SKIRTS or DRESSES. Where are the pants? The jeans? The tomboys?

The cool thing about Bratz was that they always came with one skirt or dress and one pair of pants (unless it was a formal line). The mix and match potential was endless.

The line choices were inspiring, too. Bratz had a rock and roll line, a punk line, a gothic line, a spy line, a Tokyo-inspired line, and many other creative lines. They weren’t girlish or babyish or cheesy, like the new lines have been (Yes, that Selfie line was cheesy). They didn’t just borrow from the runways, but from the underground sub-cultures that made Bratz seem fun and dangerous, yet stylish. I had given suggestions to MGA in 2014, suggestions I knew only the Bratz could pull off. They seemed excited, giving my suggestion a thumbs up on facebook and approving by email. After 2014, MGA seemed to have forgotten myĀ suggestions.

Or perhaps retailers just didn’t approve (I quickly learned how much power retailers have over the doll industry).Ā In this case, BratzĀ need better marketing strategists.

Finally, Bratz do best in darker shades, not bright colors. It’s fine to add some variety to the color palette, sure, butĀ mostly stay away from bright colors. Color-blocking bright colors with darker colors would be a good idea.

Bratz tokyo

pretty-n-punk

4. Make an Interactive Website

bratzpack-com

When I first got into Bratz, they weren’t even released yet. None of my friends knew about them when I became a fan. So how did I get them into the brand? Through the super awesome website of course!

The websites were always so interactive, even the first website. It had music, games, interactive bedrooms that introduced the characters, and other things. As Bratz got bigger, the website got better. But it didn’t take a whole lot of money to make a decent website.

With this generation’s obsession with apps, companies have put less value in websites, thinking they don’t matter, thinking that all they have to do is post an app and some news on their websites. NO. Kids who can’t afford apps will appreciate an interactive website where they can play some games. In fact, it will encourage kids to enjoy something OTHER than an app. And who doesn’t like games that are free? It makes the brand look better. It adds quality to the brand.

By reaching out to those kids, you are reaching out to ALL of the target audience, not just the ones that have cool android phones and tablets.

The last Bratz website was so sad and lonely. It had a plain white background, news, and boring apps.

5. Bring Back the Boyz Line

The thing that was always best about this doll line was that they didn’t treat the boys as just accessories to the girls. The boys had their own lines, their OWN clothing, their OWN accessories. Even the boys looked stylish and cool! No brand has mastered this yet! Bratz is the only brand that has catered to the males in this way.

Bratz_Wildlife_Safari_Boyz_Dylan_Doll

6. Keep the Core FOUR

Bratz started out with four, and were always more successful that way. It’s best to switch out characters for the fifth. Lines do worse when all four girls aren’t in them.

In 2007-2009, MGA made the mistake of focusing on the Closmins (Cloe and Yasmin dolls).

In 2015, MGA made the mistake of adding Raya to the core line, making it difficult to switch dolls out.

7. Maintain Quality

“Quality Over quantity” is a motto that rings true in the doll industry. I would rather high quality dolls than 10 lines a year. If that means coming out with less lines until Bratz is popular again, so be it.

When Bratz first arrived in 2001, they didn’t have a whole lot of lines. But the outfits and hair were amazing to the touch.

InĀ 2012, Bratz lost their quality. The one plus to the 2015 reboot was that most of the lines had decent quality. With enough attention to detail and fine quality materials, the Bratz can be back on the map.

8. Bring Back the Old Bratz Bodies

The original Bratz bodies looked fine. There was never aĀ need to add any extra movement or poses to these dolls. The shorter dolls looked more appealing and the bodies had more of a curve to them. Plus, they would be able to fit all of the old outfits.

9. Allow Buying Opportunities On the Company Website or Main WebsiteĀ 

I heard the biggest problem cameĀ from retailers. Apparently, they have most of the power over Bratz. They have issues with selling edgy dolls to children. I’ll bet most of these retail chains are full of soccer moms and feminists (which is why I’m against female designers for Bratz. I just don’t trust they will deliver.) I was told it was the reason so many prototypes had to be altered.

If retailers won’t accept the edgier dolls in their stores because of feminists and soccer moms, then MGA should be their own store. They should produce competitionĀ for retailers.

Sure, actually building a chain of stores would be difficult. It requires a lot of money. So instead, why not allow Bratz to be sold online, at the main website, right from the company? There should be a “shop” section. With so many people online, why not? It’s easier today with everyone connected to internet.

I suppose they want help with promotion and such from large retail chains. Still, if retailers refuse to sell certain “alternative” dolls, MGA should sell the dolls on their own website, just to give people better options. They have to make retailers want the dolls. They can better do that by taking the doll matters into their own hands.

With Bratz’s popular name, gaining someone to promote Bratz wouldn’tĀ have been too difficult if they had just created a fierce doll line. Someone would’ve wanted to fund these dolls.

10. The Packaging

I don’t know what possessed MGA to the point they thought putting rainbows, ostriches, and emojis on the packaging would be a good idea. It might be the universal “Digital Age”, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to see emojis everywhere. It seemed like whenever MGA tried to be up-to-date, they seemed more out-of-touch.

The packaging used to be unique. Each package fit with the theme of the current doll line. Some almost looked like purses, too. For instance, the Pretty N’ Punk line’s packaging had one chain at the top, to make carrying it easier.Ā That became a trademark for Bratz.

Bratz 2001 website

The Bratz may not have had a good year, but Bratz had one of the longest runs of any fashion doll line next to Barbie! Bratz have been a successful doll line for more than 10 years! That is a victory in itself.

Enjoy a slideshow full of the Bratz’s doll line creations!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enjoy all of the commercials that have come out over the years. My, have things changed.

 

Enjoy the Bratz music!

Want to test your Bratz knowledge? Try my Bratz Quiz!

Bratz Quiz: How Much Do You Know?

Well, that about wraps up this discussion. So Bratz fans, what do you think of the news? Are you heartbroken Bratz are leaving? Happy that they won’t look bad anymore? Mixed in your feelings? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. And if you have any more suggestions on what you think would make the brand better, please share!

šŸ˜¦ Ā (2001-2016)

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12 Responses to “Bratz Dolls Say Goodbye To the Toy Industry”

  1. HopeGrim 2016/10/23 at 19:46 #

    I’m in tears. Why? Like the doll brand right now isn’t as good as the original generation but why?

    Like

    • HopeGrim 2016/10/23 at 19:47 #

      The doll world is already losing quality and values as it is. Losing this doll line is a big blow. Next, we’ll see monster high leaving its shelves.

      Like

      • generationnext 2016/10/24 at 17:27 #

        Be prepared for Monster High next. Ever since they re-branded the entire line, people have had a really negative response to them.

        In fact, them re-branding MH is a sign the doll line is suffering. Soon, all we’ll have is BARBIE and Disney’s toys.

        The Toy Industry, particularly the Fashion doll industry, is slowly fading away with the new generation. It’s a sad reminder that kids just aren’t interested in toys anymore. šŸ˜¦

        Thank you once again for commenting. You’re one of my loyal readers. I really appreciate you. Especially in my time of grief over one of my favorite doll brands.

        Liked by 1 person

    • generationnext 2016/10/24 at 17:17 #

      There weren’t enough sales. šŸ˜¦ Apparently, everyone was refusing to buy the new dolls until they made the dolls look like the original. They didn’t get enough money to make new lines, so they discontinued the whole brand. They kept getting nothing but negative responses, on instagram, twitter, and especially facebook. I suppose they felt Bratz were outdated. But that wasn’t the problem at all. The problem was poor promotion throughout the year and doll faces and lines that didn’t please the core fanbase.

      I guess they are putting most of their attention on Project MC2 and Moxie Girlz now too.

      I’m really sad, but I’m going to keep this brand alive and keep fighting for their return. After all, this is the last brand where representation of African American, Asian, and Hispanic/Latina characters is strong.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love&Light 2016/10/25 at 17:55 #

    It’s a real shame that MGA let things get to this point. They had a billion dollar franchise on their hands and had so much potential to come back strong and capitalise on this new generation by being true to their original essence. Instead, they focused on the wrong things. They focused on pleasing soccer moms and playing it very safe with this relaunch and this is exactly why the brand has suffered severely. The designers and basically the entire team that worked on 2015-16 Bratz clearly don’t have any idea about what made the brand such a hit and are the reason this comeback was such a huge flop. MGA have nobody to blame for this mess but themselves this time around by listening to the wrong people within their own team.

    Majority of the 2015 commercials were tame and aimed at toddlers, the marketing was poor and not true to what the Bratz are really about, and worst of all, the dolls themselves were try hard and juvenile looking. The faces were terrible, wore hardly any make-up and lacked expression and sassiness, and the designs/themes were hit and miss with majority being a big MISS. The main point of Bratz was their endless mix and match fashion options. With the relaunch, this was lacking and many of the designs were so theme specific that it didn’t allow for much mixing and matching. Aside from that, many of the designs were just messy and way too childish. All of the packaging was bombarded with emojis and rainbow colours everywhere. MGA pretty much turned Bratz into a Barbie clone when Bratz was always the total opposite. They were edgy, fashion forward dolls that were primarily focused on FASHION. There wasn’t a need for a huge backstory or some long explanation as to why they liked fashion. They just DID and they did it VERY well! They took on edgy themes and made statements with their fashion choices that no other toy company to this day would DARE take on, especially not today. Toy companies today are pandering to soccer moms and no fashion doll line is taking any risks because everything has to be super pc and apparently you can’t love fashion without being shallow or looked at as a slut. This is why the fashion doll industry is suffering. Everything has become super watered down, boring, cheap and nothing is inspiring anymore. MGA made Bratz follow that trend and now they have to discontinue the line because of it. So many fans have made suggestions online, shared ideas and inspiration countless times on social media. With the amount of ideas posted online, i’m surprised another toy company hasn’t popped up outta nowhere with an amazing fashion doll line to rival what Bratz used to be. That still might just happen, and then MGA will really be in trouble if they don’t get things together soon (Mattel also) especially now when Monster High also appears to be in decline, but is still having more success with their rebranding than Bratz.

    I agree with many of your suggestions. I think MGA just need to get rid of everyone that was involved with this relaunch and start again. Use the people that contributed to making Bratz a success, the people that truly understand the franchise. Many people don’t understand when fans say they want the “old Bratz back”. Obviously it’s not about living in the past and expecting flared glitter jeans, but about keeping that fierce essence they once had but bringing that into 2016 and beyond. It’s quite hilarious that girls on Instagram look more like a Bratz doll than the actual dolls do. Bratz need to capitalise on the hype of fashion and beauty like they did before. With the relaunch, they were all about CIY and being wholesome relatable girls. That isn’t what made them such a success. They were about living glamorously and having that larger than life and aspirational element to them.

    They need to consult their old team of designers and also bring in fresh talent that really understands the franchise. Many Bratz fans want illustrator and designer Hayden Williams to design for them. Isaac Larian has already expressed that he loves his work and i think he captures the spirit and true essence of the Bratz perfectly! https://www.instagram.com/p/BFrGQnmTTQO/

    I don’t know if MGA will ever be brave enough to fully bring Bratz back to greatness. It seems like they are very scared to touch on anything relating to their past or anything “old Bratz” for fear of upsetting certain parents or ruffling any feathers. But this is exactly what they need to do if they ever want to see success again. They need to be controversial and get people talking. They need to take risks and deliver amazing dolls that will get girls and boys excited again! If they don’t get it right the next time, there may never be a next time and they might be over for good, as retailers and fans will only give so many chances for so long. The fans are already tired of this whole situation and feel like MGA aren’t listening to what they want. Lets hope MGA have seriously learned from this mess and get back to bringing the REAL Bratz back….whenever that may be!

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/10/28 at 03:43 #

      Absolutely. Everything you said was spot-on!

      Unfortunately, and this is just a hunch, I get the feeling that with the mess of the court cases, the fight with Belair, and the falling out with Carter Bryant, they are either incapable of bringing back the old Bratz (due to legal issues) or refusing to keep Carter’s stamp on it because they let him go (just in case he can sue them or just because they want to prove they can move on without him, which seemed not to be the case).
      Monster High has changed their glossy-eyed look, too. I’m also wondering if that has something to do with court cases or Mattel trying to appeal to soccer moms.

      Feminists and Soccer moms just added to a whole slew of other issues.

      Still, they can get around this by making fashions that are inspiring, even if the faces can’t be exact. Carter Bryant was inspired by the punk rock scene and urban hip-hop scenes for the Bratz. That should’ve been where they began.

      Hayden Williams would’ve been perfect as the designer! And finding a team to support Hayden would’ve been smart. But I’ll bet the hiring process and screening, as well as actually manufacturing and producing the Hayden dolls, would’ve taken another year. He’s also not from the USA, where the Bratz began, so there’s some other challenges with bringing him on board. Either way, this year would’ve bombed. But hiring Hayden in the future should be an option. IF not, someone else should buy out the franchise and hire Hayden. That’s if Hayden wants to fully invest time and patience into the fashion doll industry and Bratz line. They at least can borrow some art ideas from Hayden.

      Either way, I’m at the point where I would rather another company take on the doll franchise than see so much wasted potential.

      Thank you for commenting. šŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Tony 2016/10/27 at 14:53 #

    I’m a guy and I loved the Bratz from a young age because they really taught kids to be themselves. In fact one of their ads started with “whatever you do… be totally you…”.

    However, even though I was a bit disappointed with the new dolls, I would have to say that I’m a bit heartbroken about this news. The line had so much potential and MGA didn’t make good use of it.

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/10/28 at 03:31 #

      Agreed. Bratz appealed to all audiences: young, older, female, male, everyone. Most people didn’t buy the new dolls, and when there is no money rolling in there isn’t enough to fund the Bratz project.

      What they really needed was some good designers on board who understood Carter Bryant’s vision. Or they should’ve just kept Carter Bryant, the original designer, on board. I don’t understand what made them think getting rid of him was a good idea…

      MGA has continued to disappoint me with the way they have managed the doll line. At this point, I would hope the brand goes in someone else’s hands, in a company that understands these dolls and has better management and vision.

      Thank you Tony for commenting. šŸ™‚

      Like

  4. generationnext 2016/10/30 at 16:47 #

    Reblogged this on Generation Next and commented:

    One More Week To Honor the Bratz. šŸ˜¦

    Like

  5. ayannabuckner 2016/11/02 at 06:06 #

    Man, this is such a shame. I mean, I kind of saw this coming when they initially began advertising for the 2015 reboot, but being only 18, Bratz was ny childhood. They were the cool doll just because of how unique they were! As everyone before me has stated, they appealed to those who admired urban styles and sub-cultures. As a child I always loved how they represented many different races and had out of this world opportunities such as being in the Rock Angelz band or travelling to Tokyo in the Tokyo a Go Go line. When they relaunched they were just…blah. I don’t think I’d be interested in a “relatable” doll as a current-gen child either because as a kid I played with toys so I could escape reality, not live it. Plus they were too gimmicky with “selfie” lines and uniteresting clothing.

    It really does stink that they’re going out with a whimper. Here’s hoping that maybe one day they can come back and be the popular line they once were. And here’s hoping that EAH and MH won’t suffer the same fate.

    Like

    • generationnext 2016/11/04 at 17:26 #

      Yes. I always imagined that when Bratz went out, they would go out with a bang. I always thought that Bratz had the ability to stand the test of time, more than many other doll brands. Guess not. šŸ˜¦

      I think Ever After High has some juice left. It’s Monster High I’m worried about. Their reboot is also not looking too good. :/

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

    • Susan Fuller 2016/12/22 at 05:29 #

      Not happy what’s so ever.

      Liked by 1 person

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