Exclusive: Feature – Dolls & Collectibles

Published on: 10th May 2022

Content has become increasingly important in the Dolls & Collectibles category, engaging children with the characters and their personalities. Sam Giltrow finds out more.

These days, it’s no longer just about giving a doll to a child to play with – there is often a story or backdrop which will enable the child to relate to and understand more about their new ‘friend’ with dolls serving to inspire, nurture and encourage. Many companies are now utilising entertainment across channels such as YouTube and streaming services to build brands and provide storylines.

Sam Giltrow talks to IMC Toys, MGA Entertainment, Zapf Creation, Mattel and The Desi Doll Company, to get a flavour of the latest developments for their Dolls & Collectibles ranges.

“Our approach is to take children on a journey, moving from content, to toys, to memories,” explains IMC UK country manager, Sue Barratt.

At MGA Entertainment, marketing director Michelle Lilley, was also keen to champion the importance of content in driving brands. “Fans can get to know their dolls in greater detail, from individual personalities and talents to feature-rich accessories and high-quality fashions, adding to an enhanced play pattern and character recognition,” she tells us.

Kasia Leskow, marketing manager at Zapf Creation, says that new hybrid working environments mean that parents are looking for more stimulating products with multiple features and accessories that will entertain their children for longer. “Our dolls have always fitted this brief,” she tells us, “but we’ve noticed a real shift in customers recognising the need for longer-lasting toys and therefore seeking out high quality items that support independent play patterns.”

Many parents are also keen that dolls should inspire and empower children, and the Barbie brand has provided dolls that do just that by honouring 12 trailblazing women this year. “We know that children are inspired by what they see around them, which is why it’s so important for young girls to see themselves reflected in role models,” says Kelly Philp, director of marketing, Mattel UK.

Also using dolls to increase representation is The Desi Doll Company, which produces dolls based on the Islamic faith. “Muslim parents are always looking for fun and exciting ways in which to encourage the faith in their children and this is a great way to connect with our customers,” says founder and managing director Farzana Rahman.

To read more about the latest new Dolls & Collectibles on offer, see the full feature, which appeared in the May edition of Toy World, here.


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