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MGA’s CEO, Isaac Larian, Said, “Bratz Are Coming Back the Fall of 2018!” Can the Bratz Deliver This Time?

30 Jun

 

 

Greeting Readers! This is Gen Next!

I know I haven’t talked about the Bratz in eons. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping up with my Girls with a Passion for Fashion!

In fact, I have been hard at work preparing for their return. I intend to have a strong hand in the comeback this year. Why? Because I see that the Bratz dolls still have the potential to make their mark on the toy industry. I’ve got quite a few things in mind.

Three months ago, I sent MGA’s inventor team a 13-page proposal stating all of the things I feel the Bratz brand needs. That may have been overly-ambitious, and possibly overstepping my boundaries, but I feel better now that I’ve said what I wanted to say.

So, I’ve been busy with Bratz, don’t you worry.

I’ve had some readers ask me if I’ve heard about the Bratz’s comeback in 2018, and I have.

Why have I been silent? Two reasons: 1) I wanted to wait to do a major article on the brand when the comeback officially releases. 2) I didn’t want to repeat rumors and over-hype the brand just to let myself and others down. 3) I have several concerns regarding the comeback, and I didn’t want my negativity to rub off on the hopefuls.

As for number 2, I have this tendency to get super excited about a brand, to place all of my ideas out there, and I try to get others on-board, too. In the end, my expectations soar way too high. In 2015, I was really let-down by the Bratz dolls.

Read my article: Bratz Are Back Again in 2015: What Happened to the Bratz?

Honestly, I wasn’t sure the Bratz truly WERE going to come back this year. Companies often say one thing, it doesn’t mean that’s what’s going to happen. Delays happen, too. The toy industry has been suffering. Even Toys R ‘Us took a hit. I wasn’t sure if Mr. Larian could make this happen and I didn’t want to recklessly post my thoughts on it too quickly.

What changed my mind now? Well, I’m starting to see some extremely promising little updates happening.

We all should know by now that Isaac Larian has been hinting at the Bratz comeback since last year. He basically said “Bratz are scheduled to release this fall”.

The fall quarter is basically around the corner now.

We’ve also got some teaser Instagram posts lately:

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Happy 17th birthday to the Bratz!

A post shared by Bratz (@officialbratz) on

Exciting things are coming.

A post shared by Bratz (@officialbratz) on

Keep being patient… it takes time to look this good.

A post shared by Bratz (@officialbratz) on

Surprise—here’s a peek at Cloe’s angelic look! #Bratz #BratzCollector #PassionForFashion

A post shared by Bratz (@officialbratz) on

Sasha just loves the hip-hop thang! #Bratz #BratzCollector #PassionForFashion

A post shared by Bratz (@officialbratz) on

With all of this, I have every reason to be excited… but concerned, too.

I’m excited because it’s time for a doll brand like Bratz to come back to shelves. I’ve been through toy shelves recently to find inspiration, and diversity is seriously lacking. Even Disney’s dolls and brands are so white-washed.

Dolls are so….boring nowadays, too. They don’t have flash. Most come with cheap clothes, one outfit, and no accessories. Everyone is afraid of makeup. They are so busy trying to appeal to feminist social agendas, they fail to actually interest anyone.

The last time Larian said the Bratz were “coming back better than ever”, we got 2015 Bratz, the goo-goo eyed dolls with a sweet touch.

One of my concerns deals with retailers. Since Bratz’s debut, retailers have had so much control, they managed to alter many of the Bratz dolls’ older lines. Carter Bryant, the original designer of the Bratz dolls, mentioned that retailers’ opinions, especially the Market buyers at Walmart, are what led to the alterations of Bratz Fashion Pixiez (and I’m certain other lines as well). They couldn’t handle Bratz being so edgy, sassy, and fierce.

Now, retail chains are suffering. With the closing of Toys R’ Us, and the power of Walmart and Amazon, what will be sold has completely gone into the hands of these major retail giants. Without their approval, Bratz can’t return to the shelves. Does that mean Bratz may have to sacrifice some original ideas in order to be marketable to these giants? And can Mr. Larian sell the Bratz to these “family-friendly” retailers?

I did offer a different suggestion in my 13-page proposal, but I’m not sure they will really consider these ideas, and I’m not expecting them to. I’ve offered different ideas before the release of the last “re-launch” in 2015. None of those ideas were used, though all of my ideas were given a “thumbs up” when I posted them on Facebook. I have no doubt they tried to implement my ideas, but if retailers didn’t like it…Well, that’s that.

Talking to Carter Bryant back in 2015 has given me a lot of insight and has taught me one thing about the doll industry and creative property in general: You can create what you want, it doesn’t mean you have power over what you create.

Carter Bryant has helped me realize how powerful retailers are in the posts he made on my blog:

Carter Bryant has shown us that Walmart buyer Lori was responsible for a lot of the edgiest lines being dumbed down significantly. Walmart is one of the leading supermarket chains in the USA. Their buyers decide what gets sold on their shelves. They buy the product, sell it at their stores, and get a percentage of the profits.

She’s an older lady, and to me, she seems to favor Barbie. I mean, it’s not unexpected. She probably grew up with Barbie. Bratz probably rattled her cage. I’m not sure if she is still a toy merchant with Walmart, but whoever is will decide what happens with Bratz, and if she is still the primary girls’ toy merchant, we are in trouble.

So, despite the fact that Isaac Larian wants to bring out a doll line that’s “like no other”, would he really have the power to do it? I do have one solution to this problem, but will Bratz’s marketing team consider my idea a good one? Will that idea be enough?

Then, there’s the issue with the generation itself. Do girls even play with dolls anymore? Would they even BUY the dolls? Girls today have shown some interest in toys, but far more interest in technology. Children are more sophisticated than they were 10 years ago, and more girls reject traditional femininity than they used to ten years ago. Will they see Bratz as an outdated brand? Will they see Bratz as a brand that promotes superficial values and reject the brand as a whole?

Last, I’m concerned about feminist and mommy bloggers as well. Will they tear the brand down and influence their “soccer mom” supporters to help them?

There’s a lot to be concerned about.

Despite how negative I might sound, I am fairly optimistic about TWO things.

For starters, I’m optimistic about the Bratz brand’s quality. Lately, Mr. Larian seems to have come across some cash, which might be good for the overall quality of the Bratz brand. He offered to buy Toys R’ Us AND he’s offered to merge with Mattel, his original competitor! He seems well-equipped to polish the brand this time.

Article on MGA’s ambitious desire to merge with Mattel

He’s seen some success from his LOL Surprise brand. Project MC2 seems to have a steady beat. And both of Isaac Larian’s children have invested in their own brand, Cult Gaia, which brings the family more wealth. He seems pretty confident that he will reap even more profits from his planned Bratz return. So, who knows what he has up his sleeve.

Hopefully, this businessman has hired the right team and is ready to bring Bratz into the future full-force! But until then, I won’t be posting some of my ideas or hopes for the brand. I’m literally “cleansing palates of expectations”. For now, I will just sit back and wait until it all unfolds.

Second,I’m also excited to learn that Hayden Williams, a fashion designer and illustrator who was rumored to be hired to assist with the design of Bratz, actually WAS hired. This means MGA is at least considering the fans’ expectations for the brand. Hayden Williams has officially tweeted me to confirm that he is one of the Bratz designers!

Hayden Williams Response

At one time before this update, I wasn’t sure Hayden wouldn’t be interested in being a designer for MGA because it might mean he would lose his freedom as a designer.

Turns out, he’s doing a collaboration with MGA, so he will be free to work as he pleases. His dolls will be Amazon collectors’ exclusives available this fall!

I’m excited to know that MGA recognized his talents and vision.

Have you all SEEN his work? Check him out on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hayden_williams/?hl=en

The best part about the release of these dolls is that they will be available ONLINE ONLY (for now). One of my other concerns was that I wasn’t sure Hayden would really be on-board with designing (despite most Bratz fans’ desire to have him design for the dolls) because I was afraid retailers would try to restrict his freedom if the dolls came out too edgy. I was afraid retailers might be skeptical to buy the Bratz because of their reputation, and that Hayden would have to curb the Bratz’s stylishness. One of my suggestions in my 13-page proposal was for Bratz to be sold online if retailers got funky. Glad to know MGA got the same idea.

I don’t think Amazon will restrict the design of the dolls as bad as other retailers (considering they don’t seem to be biased in what they allow to be sold on their website). Hayden said on his own Twitter:

Hayden Williams Tweets

MGA gave him the freedom to really give his all to these dolls. That’s all us Bratz fans really want!

Still, I hope all retailers recognize this brand’s ability to bring back consumers’ interest back to toy aisles and don’t try to change the image of the dolls to get them there.

Now, here’s where I’m uncertain again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear Hayden Williams is going to be designing all of the Bratz lines. If they do hire others, they better be on par. I believe that Hayden understands the original “Bratz” design best. He said he has been into the Bratz since 2001. We need fans like him that understand what the Bratz were. No offense to fans who came with the TV series, the movies, or when Meygen jumped in ’02, but you have to have known the Bratz their entire career to understand their image and message FULLY. If you believe you can be on par, do thorough research on the brand, backwards and forwards. I believe that’s why the other designers struggled. The TV series and movies changed a lot about the Bratz, which I don’t appreciate (Read or listen to Bratz 2018: What I Want to Return and What I Don’t)…and some of the people who are fans of the brand mostly remember the media entertainment portion of the brand. While it is one part of the brand, there’s more to it.

I really hope they don’t get Project MC2 designers on-board for the Bratz. If they do, we’re going to have another Moxie-Bratz 2010 problem.

Oh, you don’t know? Remember when Cloe’s leggings were recycled from Moxie Teenz? Yes, that problem.

We’ll also get cute, because that’s what Project MC2 is. They’re cute.

The Bratz are not meant to be “cute”. We don’t need designers who think “cute” will make the Bratz better. N-to-the-O.

So far, I have so many mixed feelings about this comeback now. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m happy, I’m nervous. I just don’t know what to think anymore!

Readers and fellow Bratz fans, what do you all think of the Bratz’s upcoming “return”? Do you believe the Bratz will deliver this time? Or do you think retailers and critics will find a way to ruin the brand once again? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Read up on some of my other articles:

How Well Do You know the Bratz? Quiz

A Walk Down Memory Lane: Bratz Music

Bratz Dolls Say Good-bye to the Toy Industry

In case you couldn’t find it above: Bratz 2018: What I Want to See Return and What I Don’t

 

Question: Do these girls look like Bratz dolls or what?

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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. 😦

The fashion doll industry is dying out due to low funds to support doll lines, lack of inspiration, soccer moms, and vocal online and offline radical feminists (who have been against Barbie’s and Bratz’s “sexualization” , “attitude”,  and “materialism” 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.

The following links show just how many website articles (written by feminists) supported “feminist” makeovers and hated the Bratz:

These Bratz dolls got an amazing feminists makeover

Tree Change

This artist is giving Bratz an awesome feminist Makeover

Over-sexed and over here: The ‘tarty’ Bratz Doll

New Bratz dolls Tell Girls “It’s Good to be Yourself”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-411266/Over-sexed-The-tarty-Bratz-Doll.html#ixzz4gPS3FGyI

How to Explain Monster High and Other Hyper-Sexualized Dolls to Young Kids

Among many other articles. Most of the above articles are recent. The Bratz “controversy” has been going on since debut!

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 are 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. A 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 Tasteful Tune, and with Girls 10 to 14 

The coolest part about the first Bratz commercial was the animation mixing with the real girls. 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, especially 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 Dolls a Glossy Eyed Look with Nice Make-up

13346-bratz1

Forget what feminists and soccer moms 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 not examples of art or creativity, just something slapped together to push social agendas and make moms feel comfortable with themselves. 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 subcultures. It 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 my suggestions.

Or perhaps retailers just didn’t approve (I quickly learned how much power retailers have over the doll industry). In this case, Bratz 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, but 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 website formats were always so interactive, even the first format. It had music, games, interactive bedrooms that introduced the characters, and other things. As Bratz got bigger, the website got better. 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 on 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 brand 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 unique hairstyles, and their OWN accessories. Even the boys looked stylish and cool! No other 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 eye and touch.

In 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 a 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. They should at least bring the old bodies back at debut or for a couple of months, just to test to see whether the fans want the old look back or a newer look. Later, they can decide to try adding more articulation.

In the modern day, some people may like a little more articulation so that the dolls can be posable on social media. However, the classic look gives Bratz their staple appearance, adding value to the brand. It also allows standing to be easier. Bendable arms and legs make standing difficult without a stand.

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

I heard the biggest problem came 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 competition 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’t 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 when they decided to put rainbows, ostriches, and emojis on the packaging. Who thought that 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 and wherever MGA tried to be up-to-date with the new Bratz, 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. 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!

😦  (2001-2016)

READ NEXT: One brave feminist goes deeper into the “feminist” dislike of Bratz, stating how the Bratz “appearance” relates to black and Latino communities, and how that conflicts with “White feminism”. Check out her article: Brave Feminist

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