Miniature Barbies invade China, starting at McDonald's

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Mattel seeks a beachhead for its classic toy with "fantasy worlds" in McDonald's restaurants

SHANGHAI — Mattel has thrown Barbie-themed parties in more than 500 McDonald’s restaurants across China — turning seven of those into full-fledged Barbie fantasy worlds — in order to showcase its Mini-Barbie product line, designed specially for the Chinese market.

The coming out party for the Mini-Barbies also includes a launch TV commercial (above).According to Jeff Wang, general manager of Mattel Greater China, the Mini-Barbie is a range of dolls designed "to engage the preferences of Chinese girls." Mattel said it analyzed a wealth of research to determine which doll characteristics would prove most popular, and of them was "easy to carry." So the end product reflects the Chinese trend for all things mini.The Mini-Barbie line also incorporates themes of the Chinese zodiac and Chinese birthdays. A total of 108 doll varieties will appear over the course of 2015.

 The brand hosted 4,350 Barbie-themed parties in 550 McDonald’s in 22 major cities between April 1 and 30. In all, 50,000 Chinese children were exposed to the new product.


 Taking it up a notch, Mattel transformed seven McDonald’s restaurants (in Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Qingdao) into Barbie and Hot Wheels (also under Mattel) fantasy-worlds. More than 200,000 consumers flocked to the special stores in the first week alone. They will remain in place until June 2.

"Our goal is simple: we want to bring our [Mattel's and McDonald's'] unique strengths together to create something special and exciting for our customers in China in a way that brings them more value while expressing the magic and fun of our iconic brands," Wang said.

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