Transmedia Franchise….Barbie

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Since Barbie’s creation in 1959 she has branched into many different media outlets making her an American icon. When Mattel created Barbie they created more than a doll, they created a WORLD.

Spreadability: Each story of Barbie is on-going thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web. Barbie fans can follow her on Facebook twitter, or go directly to to play many exciting games centered on a previously released doll or movie.

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Continuity vs. Multiplicity: Barbie can do pretty much anything. She’s been a teacher, doctor, veterinarian, you name it she’s probably done it.

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Immersion vs.  Extractability: The Barbie craze has reached all new heights. There are Barbie themed hotels, restaurants, Barbie themed cruise packages. There are also items you can purchase nearly everywhere such as clothing, book bags, hair accessories, makeup, shoes (and this is doesn’t even cover half of the list).ould identify her by.

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Word Building: Novels, published by Random house and Golden books (1960s) gave Barbie a life that fans could identify her by.


Serality– Every aspect of Barbie is designed to connect to another outlet. Every doll has an accompanying made for TV movie, which is eventually released on DVD.  After the movie is released Barbie hones in on her musical abilities and releases a soundtrack.  In addition to the soundtrack other merchandise such as clothing and coloring books (and this is really just naming a few)  are also released.


Subjectivity: In order to reach a wider audience of people, Mattel has created a range of companions for Barbie, including Hispanic Teresa, Midge, African American Christie, and Steven (Christie’s boyfriend). Barbie’s siblings and cousins were also created including Skipper, Todd and Stacie (twin brother and sister), Kelly, Krissy, and Francie. Over the years Barbie has also been released in different ethnicities in order to be more relate able to Barbie fans across the globe.


Performance:  Some fans have developed a complex called “Barbie Syndrome”. This is the desire to have a physical appearance and lifestyle representative of the doll. The most known example of this is Russian model Valeria Lukyanova and the human “Ken” Justin Jedlica.


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