Barbie, the iconic fashion icon for girls 4 to 11, is coming to the high seas on Royal Caribbean International (www.cruisingpower.com), which has inked an exclusive partnership with Mattel (www.barbie.com).
A self-proclaimed Barbie fan with a collection of more than 200 Barbie dolls, Vicki Freed, the line’s senior vice president of sales, says Barbie is “a great fit” and represents yet another powerhouse partnership for the Royal Caribbean brand. The line already partners with such brands as Coach, Dreamworks and Johnny Rockets.
By March 2013, all ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet will have complimentary Barbie activities including a movie night and story time integrated within Adventure Ocean, the line’s supervised children’s program.
Little girls and Barbie fans of all ages will also enjoy Barbie movies on the in-stateroom television system. And, for kids and collectors alike, a Barbie Cruise Vacation doll dressed in nautical attire will be sold in the shipboard shops of Royal Caribbean.
In addition, Royal Caribbean will introduce a premium experience, available at $349 per child. Starting in October, travel agents should be able to book this for clients.
A Premium Experience
With the premium experience, guests will open their stateroom door to discover sparkling pink Barbie decorations, and the child will receive a keepsake Barbie-themed blanket, pillow case, toothbrush and toiletries, as well as the nautical Barbie doll.
In addition, the little girl will also receive an exclusive invitation to a Barbie tea, where she’ll be served pink cupcakes. Kids also will participate in a mermaid dance class with moves reminiscent of the “Barbie in a Mermaid Tale 2” movie.
Girls may create their own Barbie fashions at a fashion designer workshop. And the little girls will dress up and perform a dance routine for their family members attending a Barbie fashion show.
The premium experience was tested on Freedom of the Seas and was highly successful, Freed said. That’s not surprising given that Barbie remains the world’s most popular doll.
Barbie's Heritage and Appeal
Mattel says one Barbie is sold every three seconds somewhere in the world. More than 100 million Barbie DVDs have been purchased since 2001.
Ruth and Elliot Handler founded Mattel Creations in 1945. Fourteen years later, Ruth Handler - inspired by her young daughter Barbara’s fascination with teenage life and love for fashion dolls - gave the world the Barbie doll.
First introduced to the public as the original Teenage Fashion Model, the Barbie doll has since had more than 130 careers, represented more than 40 different nationalities and “collaborated with” more than 75 different fashion designers. The Barbie brand has also evolved into entertainment, online and consumer products.
Royal Caribbean says its Barbie activities will appeal mostly to girls between the ages of 4 and 11. Mattel reports that girls 3 to 6 own an average of 12 Barbie dolls.
What’s most interesting, perhaps, is that kids who grow into adults remain enchanted by the Barbie experience. Barbie has more than 4 million “likes” on Facebook, the largest following of any doll on the social networking site.
Freed says she still buys two dolls a year from the holiday collection. Agents can expect to see some of Freed’s dolls in a promotional video for the Barbie partnership that will become available to agents today.
For its part, Mattel soon will launch a cruise-focused Barbie promotion at Walmart. Prizes include a seven-day cruise. Visit www.barbiecruisevacation.com for more information.
While Barbie is likely to be a hit with the younger girls, what’s the line doing to create new activities for young boys? Royal Caribbean says it hopes to have a partnership that will offer branded activities for young boys and that’s in the development phase.