SINDY’S 50TH YEAR
• Sindy will celebrate her 50th anniversary in 2013; this impressive milestone falling aptly for a British born brand in the wake of the London Olympics and the Queens diamond jubilee celebration.
• The longevity of the Sindy brand is unique and reflects both the versatility of the property and the
universal appeal of the character’s core qualities.
• The brand has consistently demonstrated a capacity for reinvigoration and to resonate with changing zeitgeist. However, Sindy has retained the core qualities of a stylish, active and likeable girl-next-door. These are the universal qualities that have spoken to generations of young girls, many of whom are now mothers themselves.
SINDY’S STORY: A POTTED HISTORY
The birth of a fashion icon Sindy is more than a doll. The free, swinging, grown-up girl who lives her own life and dresses the way she really likes.
SINDY PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN 1963
• 1963: The first Sindy doll was introduced to the UK market.
• Baby dolls and fashion dolls had been produced in the UK for some time by Pedigree, however Sindy was the UKs first “fashion” doll built on personality.
• Pedigree resisted the temptation to borrow from the US Barbie character and rejected an approach from Mattel to develop a UK version of Barbie under licence. Instead Pedigree created a more wholesome “girl-next-door” character which it was felt would play better to the UK market.
• Sindy drew heavily on the international prominence of British fashion throughout the decade. The iconicism of this halcyon decade of British style continues to speak to new generations of consumers, as is currently evident from the growing number of vintage boutiques. Many of Sindy’s outfits were designed by top British designers such as Foale and Tuffin, which today attract significant interest from collectors worldwide.
• 1965-68: Sindy’s boyfriend Paul was released in 1966 and her sister Patch debuted in 1965. Sindy’s friends Vicki and Mitzi arrived in 1968, alongside Patch’s friends Poppet and Betsyn in 1968.
• 1968-70: Sindy was the best-selling toy in Britain for three years running.
• During the 60’s and into the 1970’s Pedigree successfully expanded Sindy’s range of accessories, a strategy not generally adopted by Mattel until the 1980’s.
• Throughout the decade Pedigree enhanced the range of Sindy playsets and accessories, further extending Sindy’s lifestyle through various outdoor and domestic play situations, which Sindy of course always led.
• 1979-80: Sindy was introduced to the US market by Marx Toys and rapidly won a 10% market foothold, however was withdrawn when Marx and Pedigree’s parent company went into receivership in 1980.
• 1979: Simultaneously Mattel sought to introduce Barbie to the UK, though the foray was short lived with Mattel closing its UK offices withdrawing Barbie from the market.
• Sindy continued to embody British style, with Pedigree undertaking significant initiatives to re-invigorate the character. A range of evening outfits were commissioned for Sindy with the Emmanuels, famous for designing Princess Diana’s wedding dress.
• 1986: Sindy moved to Hasbro, then the world’s largest toy company, who saw an opportunity to undertake an ambitious expansion strategy and to challenge Barbie’s leading global position.
• 1985-87: A number of physical modifications were undertaken to the doll, in a period of enhanced development and marketing activity. In 1985 an older looking Sindy was released with two new companions, Mark and Marie. In 1987, under the stewardship of Hasbro, further physical modifications were made to Sindy including the remodelling of Sindy’s features to reflect US tastes.
• 1987: A new Sindy magazine was launched in competition with the fortnightly Barbie magazine.
• Throughout the early part of the 1990’s the international business grew under Hasbro, with Sindy becoming a true global force.
• 1992-95: The I.P. Legal dispute between Hasbro and Mattel took place and was resolved in 1995, with the two parties entering into a settlement agreement in relation to the physical characteristics of the Sindy doll. As part of the settlement Hasbro and Mattel mutually agreed on limit of sculpt between the two dolls, which not only protected Sindy from further attack, but also left wide scope for her future sculpt and appearance.
• 1994: Hasbro introduced Sindy to continental Europe.
• 1995: Retail sales reached $100m in 1995. Sindy had become the second biggest girls brand across Europe and in various other major distributed markets.
• 1996: Mattel launched a hostile bid to take-over Hasbro (then the world’s two largest toy companies). Hasbro fought off the challenge, then refocusing its portfolio on US ‘global’ brands; Sindy became marginalised, along with a number of other established British and European brands in the Hasbro stable; product development being substantially reduced, and subsequent decline in sales.
• 1998: Sindy returned to the market with Vivid Imaginations, opportunely utilising much of the existing Hasbro tooling. Sindy was positioned as a younger fresher and more British doll.
• 2000: The official Sindy website was launched.
• The period leading into 2006 and the Woolworths partnership saw Sindy return to her roots in the aftermath of the separation with Hasbro and Vivid’s focus on Bratz in the UK market. Some further physical refinements to the doll sought to recapture the girl-next-door character and distance Sindy once again from the somewhat enhanced appearance of Barbie. Sindy took on new themes and was given new companions, to reflect the changing concerns and aspirations of young girls.
• 2004-2006: Pedigree assumed full control of the Sindy product development and re-launched in 2006. The 2006 re-launch featured two sizes of doll, with the standard sized doll (incorporating Sindy’s new unique ‘jointless’ fully poseable body) committed exclusively to Woolworths, who at that time cited approximately 50% of UK Barbie ‘doll’ sales (excluding accessories/playsets).
• 2008: Woolworths entered administration and by January 2009 all of the Woolworth stores were closed, halting the licence and the planned international expansion of Sindy through Woolworths then Asia sourcing and supply division.
• 2013: Sindy will celebrate the 50th year of her unique relationship with Sindy Girls around the world. Sindy continues to attract the fascination and delight of generations of those Sindy Girls and was recently the subject of a recent BBC2 documentary (Christmas 2011) as well as regularly featuring in other BBC and Channel 4 programming. Sindy’s genuinely younger positioning, flexibility and depth of relationship with ‘Sindy Girls’ everywhere, offers considerable commercial opportunity, from supply through to specialist retail (‘British Girl’)