IQ News: Barbie Teases Web Suitors

A recent agency review by Mattel for the relaunch of its Barbie Web site has proved to be anything but child’s play for the interactive agencies concerned.
Mattel is reportedly close to announcing a choice for creating the site for the world’s most popular doll, but participating agencies have been left wondering if any of them will be getting the business at all.
The review, which began with eight new media and advertising agencies last summer, was narrowed to three in November. Box Top/iXL, Los Angeles, OgilvyOne, New York, and Organic Online, San Francisco, are the agencies cited as probable finalists by sources close to the review. According to the sources, each finalist received a letter of rejection in December. An official at the El Segundo, Calif., toymaker confirmed that the review took place and that none of the three had been selected to execute the project.
The Mattel representative would say only that Mattel is “in the process of awarding work to an outside agency” for a new-look Barbie site due out by spring. The company declined to identify the winner, but did say it was one of the original eight. Sources said the project will involve a makeover of, which currently has a heavy focus on collectors. The new site is expected to be more kid-friendly. Mattel declined to discuss details of the project.
Two years ago, Mattel similarly conducted a similar review for an agency to develop a Hot Wheels site; that search resulted in no clear winners. It was ultimately developed in-house with out-source support from Box Top. –Laura Rich and Bernhard Warner