Does Barbie Need Botox?

A recent story in Marketing Daily reports that sales of the all-American Barbie doll have slumped 21% in the third quarter of this year.

She “may still have Ken and her Dream House, but she’s struggling to hang onto the one thing she needs most — her fan base,” as Sarah Halzack puts it in the Washington Post.

So why, at age 55, is the diva of dolls declining?

Some industry analysts give three reasons: 1) Kids are spending more on tech; 2) Girls like edgier toys (and edgier characters and role models) and 3) Barbie needs a makeover.

Playtime once revolved around GI Joes and action figures for boys and Barbie for the girls. Today, kids reach for the iPad and download new apps every few days. Like Woody in Toy Story, many of the toys and playthings from my generation, have been relegated to the closet or toy chest.

Also gone are the days of Cinderella and Prince Charming as girls are increasingly following more spirited characters such as Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. And role models are increasingly coming from women’s sports and the business world.

In her five decades, Barbie has faced competition from other doll characters and changing demographics and she has survived. But this time, our leggy blonde may need more than a wardrobe upgrade or a new convertible.