For more than five decades, both Barbie and Marvel's iconic superheroes, such as Spiderman, targeted boys and girls. But both are now rolling out extensive licensing arrangements targeting more mature audiences.
For Marvel, the focus is on leveraging the "strength and performance" that its comic-book characters — also including Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor — are known. Companies collaborating or extending their partnerships with Marvel's superhero characters include: Under Armour for apparel, Tantrum electronics accessories, Bell performance bike accessories, C-Preme durable helmets, and Sage Fruit's better-for-you produce.
The broadening of Marvel's performance push comes as Under Armour's Alter Ego collection, featuring tight-fitting T-shirts styled on characters from Marvel as well as DC Comics, has been a huge hit for the brand with boys as well as older gym rats. The line was continually sold out in its launch last year.
"Marvel Super Heroes are a natural fit for this exciting initiative," said Paul Gitter, senior vice president, licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products, on Marvel's overall performance initiative. "We see tremendous opportunity to further build out this performance initiative across all product categories — from consumables and apparel, to electronics and sporting goods."
On the feminine side, Barbie recently unveiled a multi-category line-up of apparel and accessories targeting juniors as well as girls. Featured partners on the broadening collection including Forever 21, Uniqlo Co. Ltd., Primark and Lord & Taylor.
"This is the first time the Barbie brand has leveraged its 55 year heritage to create multiple iconic looks providing retailers and licensees a way to bring the brand to life that best targets their consumer," Jessi Dunne, general manager and SVP, consumer products for Mattel. "Our focus this year across the portfolio is turning moments into memories."
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Do you think Marvel's superhero characters or Barbie are better positioned to appeal to older consumers?