It was about a year ago when Mattel of El Segundo won its eye-widening court case that put it on the path to take over the line of Bratz dolls from MGA Entertainment of Van Nuys.
Oh, sure, other skirmishes followed, but for the most part, the big doll brawl was finished last year. And it was the end of one audacious, memorable corporate fracas.
Wait a minute. Hold on to your Barbies. Maybe it’s not the end.
MGA a few months ago unveiled a line of dolls called Moxie Girlz that could be mistaken for Bratz dolls. There are four multiethnic Moxie dolls, much like the four Bratz dolls, and they have huge eyes and wear fashionable clothes, much like Bratz. (However, they are slightly less sexualized, from which parents like me can take some small comfort.) And since they retail for $19.97 each, they even cost about three bucks less than a Bratz doll.
That’s still not the end. MGA rolled out another line of dolls called Best Friends Club. Each doll has a book and a back story; each one deals with some life issue, such as bullying at school or a boy who doesn’t seem interested.
Hmmm. Sound like Mattel’s American Girl to you? Well, yeah, except they cost a lot less: $39.99 vs. the $95 or so for an American Girl.
What’s next? Will Mattel retaliate by targeting MGA’s Rescue Pets? Will MGA go after Mattel’s Hot Wheels? Scrabble games? Uno?
Personally, I’d love to see this mixed-martial-arts contest between these two big local companies go another round. I’m not above that. If anything, I’m beneath it.
But here’s the best part: This blood feud has moved out of the court house, where these kinds of conflicts are always stilted and confined, and it has migrated to the exact place where companies like these should be unfettered to have a free fight. And that’s in the marketplace.