Moxie Girlz has more modest apparel and figures th.
(photo credit: AP)
MGA Entertainment Inc. is going to need to muster
all the moxie it has for its latest launch. MGA is rolling out a new
line of dolls called Moxie Girlz as Mattel Inc. plans to take over
MGA's former marquee product, the saucy Bratz dolls, following a
four-year legal struggle.
With more-modest apparel and figures than Bratz,
you can think of Moxie Girlz as Bratz lite, and MGA is banking on the
line to keep it afloat.
MGA Entertainment began developing Moxie Girlz, targeted at
girls ages six to 10, last year. The line was inspired by the recession
and the changes in families' lifestyles that came up in focus-group
discussions, says Paula
Garcia, vice president of product design and
"We wanted to make the doll a reflection of the consumer
herself, not lavish, expensive, material things," she said. "The
fashion is 'everyday' fashion as opposed to very lavish fashions."
Early sales of Moxie Girlz, which started appearing
in some Target
and Wal-Mart stores
on July 22 and will be available
nationwide August 15, have been "very good," MGA CEO Isaac Larian said.
A TV, print, radio and online ad campaign starts in September.
The dolls have a subtler look than the pouty-lipped Bratz, who
have drawn fire for their skimpy clothing. And the new look is key,
said BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson.
"I think they're adorable," he said. "Barbie looks like a model, Bratz look like tramps and Moxie Girlz look like girls."
The success of the line is crucial to Los Angeles-based MGA. A
US District Court ordered MGA to transition the Bratz doll line to
Barbie maker Mattel by spring, concluding a lawsuit in which El
Segundo, California-based Mattel alleged Bratz designer Carter Bryant
developed the concept while at Mattel. A jury last year awarded Mattel
$100 million in damages for copyright infringement and breach of
contract. MGA is appealing, and a mediator is working with the parties.
Though MGA also makes Little Tikes, Rescue Pets and Lil Angelz,
among other toys, Bratz was by far its biggest seller. Johnson
estimates sales of Bratz peaked in 2005 at $750m. and have fallen
since, perhaps below $200m. in 2009. The privately held company does
not publish its revenue.
Moxie Girlz come in several different styles: "Jammaz" - in
pajamas - come with a guitar and a microphone; "Art-titude" come with
shoes and a bike you can draw on; and "Magic Hair" come with two sets
of hair. They cost $17.99 to $29.99 each; accessories include a car and
a salon play set.
The toy industry's doll segment has been in decline for a few
years as more girls find entertainment online and in tech gadgets. Doll
sales overall fell 10 percent to $2.68 billion in 2008, according to
market-research firm NPD Group. And sales of Barbie, the segment's
leader, slipped 15% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier,
though the decline was driven in part by the recession.
New doll lines could boost the category, Johnson said. Besides
Moxie Girlz, new entries include Liv dolls, which Spin Master
introduced Saturday. They look similar to Moxie Girlz and sell for
"There is tremendous opportunity in the girl segment for
something new, interesting and compelling," Johnson said. "Kids can be
fickle. This could be the thing the girls' business needed."