4. Bedroom Furniture
Pedigree Toys’ market research was correct – Sindy’s “girl next door” look made her more popular than Barbie in Britain. Sindy’s boyfriend Paul was released in 1965, and her younger sister Patch in 1966. Sindy’s friends Vicki and Mitzi, and Patch’s friends Poppet and Betsy debuted in 1968. Sindy was the best selling toy in Britain in 1968 and 1970. Sindy’s success in the 1960s was partly due to the increasing range of accessories, with up to 70% of Sindy’s turnover from sales of accessories. Mattel did not greatly expand Barbie’s accessories until the 1980s, and this was a significant difference between the dolls.
5. Garden Furniture
During the 1970s, Pedigree focused on developing more Sindy products and neglected advertising and market research, risking Sindy’s “girl next door” image becoming old-fashioned. In 1978, Sindy was introduced to the United States market by Marx Toys. Child star Susan Olsen, who played Cindy Brady on the popular family sitcom The Brady Bunch, was featured in a U.S. produced commercial for the doll. Most of Sindy’s accessories and fashions were similar to those sold in the United Kingdom, except for the addition of a friend, Gayle, and a McDonald’s-themed Sindy. Marx Toys went into receivership in 1980 and Sindy was withdrawn from the US market
During the 1980s, Pedigree’s new marketing director David Brown made several changes, including increasing advertising and market research, and consulting often with fashion experts to ensure the doll’s image was kept up to date. Pedigree produced a number of evening dresses designed by The Emmanuels, famous for designing Princess Diana’s wedding gown, shortly after Mattel released gowns for Barbie designed by Oscar de la Renta. Due to its success, a second collection of designs was released the next year, including a bubble dress and lingerie. An older-looking Sindy toys doll was released in 1985, with male and female companions Mark and Marie. The advertising campaign was worth £1.5 million.
In 1986, Sindy manufacturers took advantage of new colour-changing technology and released Magic Moments Sindy, a doll whose hair and swimming costume changed colour when immersed in warm water. Sindy’s senior designer Jane Braithwaite travelled to Paris each month to research fashion trends for Sindy’s clothing in an attempt to reverse declining sales. As an example of Sindy’s continually updated fashions, during this period the doll’s footwear included kitten heels, sandals, knee-high boots, ankle boots, trainers, slippers, court shoes and slingbacks.
In 1987, Sindy’s product manager Edward Machin announced that Sindy would reclaim the lead over Barbie within two years. Hasbro redesigned Sindy and spent approximately £1.5 m on advertising. A Sindy magazine was also launched in this period to challenge the fortnightly Barbie magazine. A £1 million advertising campaign was introduced in 1991 with five advertisements highlighting Sindy’s collection of beach and pool wear. The advertisement showed footage of Sindy combined with live action sequences from a look-alike.
In 1993, Sindy was featured in a £500,000 advertising campaign for the fashion company Alexon Group. Sindy was used to contrast her childish fashion with the sophistication of Alexon’s fashion range. Each double page spread showed Sindy in a typical outfit superimposed on a real-life setting. The opposite page showed a real woman dressed in Alexon’s clothes above the line ‘Dressing up for grown ups’.