Company: Mattel

Title: Iconic doll

How she’s leading: Barbie’s DVDs have sold more than 37 million units worldwide, pioneering, in the process, a lucrative niche in the kids market for properties like MGA’s Bratz, as well as Mattel’s Polly Pocket (through Universal, the company just released “Pollyworld,” the franchise’s first direct-to-DVD feature). The Mattel titles are so valuable that U has just inked a multiyear, multipicture alliance with the toy giant for worldwide marketing and distribution of the DVDs.

“A lot of thought goes into the films, and the values that permeate the film, while also making sure it’s good solid entertainment for the kids,” says Richard Dickson, senior VP, marketing, media and entertainment, worldwide for Mattel Brands.

The decision to take the Barbie brand into the entertainment arena — prior to its acquisition by Lionsgate, it was Artisan that started the Barbie DVD franchise in 2001 with “Barbie in the Nutcracker” — was not one taken lightly. “We’ve seen that girls have been spending more time in entertainment,” says Dickson, allowing that the Barbie films have helped girls build a strong emotional connection with the brand. Mattel also has made sure that Barbie evolves along with what girls are experiencing in their lives.

“We’re incredibly excited about working with Universal. It’s the first time that Mattel has collaborated with a major studio,” says Dickson, who notes that with the U partnership, there are collaborations with NBC, GE and other affiliated companies left to discover.

POV: “As the market becomes more competive and fragmented, consumers will respond to more innovation and creativity, and it’s those brands that deliver that will always stay ahead and resonate with the consumer,” Dickson says.

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