Bratz was a playline fashion doll that threatened Barbie sales - maybe even surpassed them - when they first came out in 2001. Designed by Carter Bryant, a former Mattel employee, with 10" bodies, huge heads, heavily made up and dressed in what looked like the then current street style, they were an instant hit with girls that were bored with more conservative Barbie dolls and wanted something more like them to play with. They were so successful that Mattel issued its own line, My Scene. The battle reached its apex in 2004, when Mattel sued MGA (the Bratz maker) for copying, alleging that their designer was still working for Mattel when he came up with the concept. After a lot of legal wrangling, MGA was ordered to pull Bratz from selves. Even though the decision was later reversed, the damage had been done. Bratz sales went into a slump.
The line did try to come back once again. back in 2010, changing the size of the bodies (12"), new logos and slogans, but it did not make any waves. There were even complaints about quality being inferior to previous product. After some time, the company pulled back all lines in 2014 to overhaul the dolls and re-launch this year. As the tastes of their target group have shifted drastically, with the success of lines such as Monster High and Ever After High, they have some serious competition to beat. Not to mention the avalanche that Frozen dolls have been since that franchise surfaced.
I was never a fan of doll lines like this, so I cannot say if the attempt to brink back this line will be successful or not. MGA is suing Mattel for industrial espionage now (they filed a lawsuit back in 2014) so there are still issues to be worked out on the business side of things. MGA is trying to open up the line to social media as well, like instagram and youtube. They revamped their website too (see photo above) but it's weirdly devoid of product photos so far. There's even an app for smartphones. After this first wave, MGA is releasing at least three more waves until Christmas.
Photos courtesy of MGA