folder Filed in Branding tips, Domain tips, Tips
Barbie and Mattel: A Tale of Brand Protection and Market Leadership
By Tsani Gramatikova access_time 6 min read

As 2023 comes to a close, one movie shines brightly in the world of cinema. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s hard to deny that the Barbie movie has made a significant impact in record time. This film boldly addresses important social issues like identity, self-acceptance, and challenging societal norms. It also sheds light on how patriarchy influences both men and women in our society.

If you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.

Eliana Dockterman

Over the years, Barbie has become a cherished cultural icon that spans generations, embodying aspirations and transformations. Barbie symbolises not just femininity but also ambition and empowerment. Evolving with the times and social values, Barbie has embraced diversity, inclusivity, and social awareness. It’s no surprise that the hugely anticipated Barbie movie shattered records, becoming the top-grossing film of the year globally. This success can be attributed in large part to the ingenious marketing approach, which blends inclusive storytelling, community engagement, and nostalgia marketing.

The highly effective campaign resulted in a remarkable 16% year-on-year increase in Barbie’s global sales, surging from $519.6 million last year to an impressive $605.1 million this past quarter. Particularly in North America, Barbie sales soared by a remarkable 26%. Mattel skillfully expanded Barbie’s brand to reach fresh audiences, stimulate growth, and venture into diverse product categories beyond traditional dolls. 

What you saw around the Barbie movie was, we believe, a template, a case study, an opportunity to truly understand the value and appeal that our brands have, the cultural resonance, and, importantly, our ability to execute these projects both creatively and commercially.

Ynon Kreiz, CEO of Mattell

The journey of genius marketing and reinvention is a captivating one, so let’s look closer into how it all started.

Businessman Harold “Matt” Matson, along with the husband-and-wife team of Elliot and Ruth Handler, established Mattel under the name “Mattel Creations” in January 1945, working out of a garage in Los Angeles. The name “Mattel” is a combination of “Matt,” the nickname for Harold Matson, and “El,” taken from Elliot Handler. Mattel is the parent company of some of the most prominent brands in the industry, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, American Girl, and Thomas & Friends. This position makes Mattel the world’s second-largest toy manufacturer in revenue, second only to The Lego Group.

Mattel owns an extensive portfolio, which includes more than 8000 domain names, and has consistently prioritised the protection of its intellectual property (IP) rights. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mattel boldly led the charge in vigorous brand defense. They were among the pioneering major corporations that chose to engage in legal battles with individuals or entities holding registered domain names that closely resembled their own. 

Mattel’s extensive domain name portfolio is a strategic asset with numerous benefits, from supporting marketing efforts, e-commerce, and brand recognition to empowering the company to venture into different avenues and effortlessly communicate its ideas to a global audience, highlighting Mattel’s commitment to maintaining a solid online presence and ensuring long-term brand success.

The forward-thinking vision of Mattel’s marketing and branding efforts can be seen not only in its extensive domain name portfolio but also in its profound impact on the toy industry through innovative products. One standout example is the iconic Barbie doll, which revolutionised the toy market since its debut in 1959.

Interesting fact: Barbie debuted at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. Ruth Handler’s inspiration for creating this iconic doll stemmed from watching her daughter, Barbara, engage with paper dolls and imagine them in grown-up roles. In an era when dolls primarily depicted infants, Barbie broke new ground by introducing an adult-like, fashion-forward doll with a distinctive personality of her own.

When it comes to its most profitable brand, Barbie, Mattel has made sure to secure its online presence as much as possible. They own nearly 500 domain names like,,, or Mattel is well-known for protecting the Barbie name, and they’ve been strict about it.

One of the earliest cases dates back to 1999 when the company filed a lawsuit against the owner of Mattel has actively defended its brand by taking legal action against those who attempt to use Barbie’s name or likeness without authorisation, including monitoring online marketplaces, sending cease-and-desist notices to infringers, and utilising technologies like AI and VR to enhance consumer engagement and protect their IP.

This commitment to brand protection has not only helped them maintain control over their intellectual property but has also reinforced Barbie’s iconic status in the toy industry.

Mattel’s tale of brand protection, reinvention, and visionary marketing is a testament to its enduring commitment to making the world a more imaginative, inclusive, and ever-evolving place.

With Barbie as their muse, they continue to rewrite the rules and set new standards, combining a firm grasp on their past with a keen eye on the future to remain at the forefront of the toy industry’s enduring success.

Mattel’s strategic safeguarding and evolution of the Barbie brand underscore the critical importance of a holistic brand and domain name strategy in today’s dynamic digital landscape. Their meticulous approach, blending robust legal defences with innovative marketing, has been pivotal in preserving Barbie’s iconic status and ensuring continuous market leadership. How are you protecting and growing your brand in today’s fast-changing online world?

When it comes to premium domain names, it’s important to weigh the potential loss in terms of brand recognition and revenue against the cost of the investment. In the long run, a premium domain name can be a valuable asset for your business. Contact us to learn more about our premium domain options and how they can help your business succeed.

Other resources

Barbie brand branding domain domain name domain names domains Mattel movie naming protection