Weird Barbie Supply Chain Problem

Barbie, The Movie has raced to more than US$500 million domestically and more than US$1 billion internationally since its release three weeks ago. Weird Barbie played by Kate McKinnon has been a standout in the movie and there is a heightened demand for this doll in the marketplace. What’s next for Mattel?

Introduction – Weird Barbie

A sea of pink took over the entertainment world as the biggest summer blockbuster movie is about doll characters empowering each other and their human counterparts to act for good.

What is Weird Barbie?
From the Mattel Creation website:
If anyone knows anything about keeping it weird, it’s Weird Barbie, a breakout character from Barbie The Movie. Our doll version wears an outfit inspired by one you’ll see in the feature film, a bright pink dress with colorful artwork and puffy sleeves, and green snakeskin boots. She also features short tousled hair and markings on her face to emulate a doll that’s been played with just a little too much.

Barbie™ The Movie Weird Barbie Doll 

Designer: Javier Meabe 

Label: Black 

Body Type: Made to Move 

Posable doll comes in collectible Barbie The Movie packaging 

Includes Certificate of Authenticity 

Weird Barbie available for a limited time for US $50 (Source: Mattel Creation)

Supply Chain Problem Explained

A warning sign of big change coming to the product supply chain. Greta Gerwig’s celebrated Barbie movie pays homage to 50 years of Mattel products. And Mattel, Inc. just returned the favor with their new “Weird Barbie” pulled straight from the film.

Kate McKinnon speaks about her Weird Barbie character (Source: Good Morning America)

Products based on movies are not new (Star Wars, every Pixar or Disney movie), but the speed at which this product was identified, evaluated for demand, designed, and released for marketing is unprecedented.

Traditionally products average three months to concept prototype and six months to final prototype, depending on the product of course. With its theatrical release of July 21st, fan love for Weird Barbie is barely three weeks old yet a working prototype is here and marketing has begun!

Weird Barbie available for a limited time for US $50 (Source: Mattel Creation)

With AI, virtual reality, and 3D printing new products can be developed in almost real-time, which is a game changer for retail. Think of the fast-moving media trends that could be turned into products that capitalize on a cultural moment in time or help retailers stay top of mind with consumers.

But one big hitch: the time it takes for manufacturing is now wildly disproportionate to the time AI can develop new products. While Weird Barbie took only three weeks to be born, she won’t be available to ship until May 2024. Hopefully, consumers won’t have forgotten her by then!

Weird Barbie is available for a limited time for US$50 online (Source: Mattel Creation)

The biggest change needed for the retail supply chain is to speed up manufacturing. Retailers are already assessing partners on their ability to reduce shipping time. But they now must also look for manufacturers who are investing in tech to minimize the time to market for new products and enable the production of smaller hyper-fast production runs.

Meanwhile, Weird Barbie is on pre-order now for $50. Take my money Mattel! 

Orders for the made-to-order item will be taken from 8/4/2023 at 9:00 AM PT until 8/18/2023 at 11:59 PM PT (the “sale window”), with no purchase limits. Mattel may shorten or extend the sale window at its sole discretion. A charge will be placed on your payment account and will be processed on the date you place your order. You may cancel your order during the sale window by calling Customer Service. After the sale window ends, all orders are final.  

The made-to-order item’s expected ship date will be displayed on the item’s product page in our online shop, and may be up to a year from your order date. You will be notified before your order ships, and provided with instructions if you need to update your shipping address. If the expected shipping date changes, and the revised date is more than 30 days after the original expected shipment date, you’ll be notified of the new expected shipping date and have the opportunity to request a refund if desired. 

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