Tribal marketing : barbie case

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International Seminar
Brand Communities and Tribal Marketing

Final Assignment

Barbie Case

Mariem NOUAR & Julie BOMETON

1. Can we consider that there is a Barbie community? If not, how can Mattel create a community around the Barbie doll?

There are two Barbie communities: Barbie girls and Barbie collector. These two communities don’t have the same targets, the same rules, thesame rituals and don’t use the same means of communication (we will see them in a second part).

The Barbie girls community is for young girls from 7 to 12 years old worldwide. This community is essentially made, in a first time on the internet. Girls can, with the permission of their parents, create an account on the website of Barbie.

To belong to this community and to be allowed to be amember of it, they have rules to respect. But these are general rules that we can find on many websites: have the parent’s permission, follow the rules of the website, be at least 18 years old, don’t use your real name in your screen name, never tell anyone your password or personal info, never ask anyone for her password or personal info, always be nice to others, report or block someone who ismisbehaving.

More than rules, the website give them tips: make new friends, make best friends, have a Barbie Chat with anyone, have a Barbie Chat with best friends, find your friends online.
Be a member of this community gives them privileges because they can have information on new or on future dolls or derivate products before the rest of the population. On this website they can do shoppingfor their dolls and sometimes buy products we don’t find in other places. When you belong to the community, you can play online with the others. There are other activities just for members: you can create your own personage, you can decorate the bedroom of Barbie, you can watch videos and print lyrics and sing the song with the music… With all these games you can win gifts. For instance, two younggirls won a trip.
There is another functionality to discover Barbie all around the world. According to your nationality, you will see the website in the language of your natal country. But if young French girls want to discover the American Barbie website, they just have to select the language and they will be connected to the correspondent website. With this functionality, young girls can chatwith other girls worldwide.

Young girls use a specific language in this community. If you don’t know it, you may have difficulties to understand everything they are talking about. In the Barbie world, each doll has a specific name and it is with this name that we can identify them. Only the adepts can understand this language or can only recognize Barbie and Ken!

Another specificity ofthis community is that when there is the launch of a new product linked to the Barbie world, events are organised for the members of the community. We can take the example of the launch of the Barbie Mariposa DVD. To promote this DVD, a competition was organized. The winners won the DVD, fancy dresses, make-up and the organisation of a tea. Moreover, a special website was designed with many parts.On the contrary, the Barbie collector community is more for adults who are fans of Barbie dolls since many years. The slogan of Barbie collector is “Barbie symbolized the innocence of youth”. That’s why, most of the time, Barbie collectors are women who played with Barbie when they were younger.

As for the other community, there is a virtual place to communicate and share the commoninterest for the doll. The members are here privileged too because they can get some information before the rest of the population. Moreover, they have the exclusivity above the Barbie collector sales: some Barbie collectors are only available for the members of the community.

Here there are no rules and tips as for the Barbie girls because this is particularly for adults and in general they know...
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