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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Sindy gets a make-over
By Brian Milligan
Business reporter, BBC News

New Sindy
Mothers in particular favour New Sindy

There can hardly be a woman in Britain who doesn't declare herself a Sindy Girl or a Barbie girl.

For decades both dolls fought a battle for dominance of the market, which at times even reached the law courts.

Four years ago, the company that owns Sindy began planning a new future for her.

And this weekend, after a 3m make-over, Sindy is back.

And her new look is inspired directly by her original incarnation in the early 1960's.

Falling sales

Back then her style was pretty, but wholesome.

Sindy
New Sindy will look more like the 1960s original

However, she quickly faced competition from the much more mature-looking Barbie.

Her then owners, Hasbro, decided to make her older, leggier and bustier, to try and compete with Barbie, and to try to get in to the American market.

Hence "Rainbow Sindy" was born.

But even she couldn't stem a sales decline.

So the new Sindy is much younger, and less curvaceous, than Barbie.

"It's a body that's sporty and pretty," says her chief designer, Barbara Calderwood.

"But it's not the body of an older woman."

Modest look

New Sindy also drives a pink New Mini, a statement about her Britishness, which contrasts directly with her American cousin, who naturally drives a Californian beach buggy.

Sindy during the 1990s
Sindy during the 1990s looked similar to rival Barbie

Mothers in particular seem to appreciate Sindy's new modest look.

Many believe she's more age-appropriate, particularly for three- to five-year-olds.

"This is what I'd want my child to be like, rather than this leggy tarty-looking person that Barbie has become over the years," says Jane Mason, a mother of two.

Sindy's relaunch is a big gamble for the Devon-based firm Pedigree Toys.

Having originally licensed Sindy to the toy giant Hasbro, the company bought back the rights to her five years ago.

Hence her return to modesty.

But whereas Sindy once only had Barbie as a rival, there are now many others, including the market-leader, Bratz.

If purchasing decisions remain with mothers, Sindy could be about to have the last laugh over Barbie.

Of course their little girls may decide otherwise.


SEE ALSO
Barbie doll gets live stage show
08 Mar 06 |  Entertainment
Sindy annual gets child into debt
29 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Barbie's mid-life crisis
21 Jul 04 |  Business
In pictures: Sindy celebrates 40th
29 May 03 |  Photo Gallery

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