In today’s post I am using one article for two speaking lessons or conversational sessions. Before I move on, let me explain what I mean by a conversational session. This is a lesson during which you share an article with your learner, and you just talk about the article. It is a freer type of lesson. If you see opportunities for linguistic development, seize them. If your learner asks questions about words or grammar points, go ahead and answer them. The main goal is to get the learner to talk though, have some sort of chit-chat session. This is for those days when your BE students are tired and want something more laid back. The fact that this is a lesson based on authentic material makes it more motivating for your learners.
This article got my learners talking initially about the Barbie doll and information related to this childhood toy (contoversial and non-controversial). We then talked about big companies making mistakes in marketing, the marketing of toys etc. We also discussed the Chinese market and the difference between the Chinese and European customer/ market.
think of childhood toys which ones come to your mind? Are there any you
associate with girls?
at the picture. What do you think the article is about?
title of the article is Can Barbie conquer China. Tell your teacher what you think the
article is about.
steps would you take in order to promote the Barbie doll in China?
Barbie conquer China article from BBC news (Business) link found here
must have been the biggest Barbie house ever created.
largest toy maker, US firm Mattel, set its sights firmly on the Chinese market,
opening a flagship store in Shanghai.It was using a toy
that in her 50 years had conquered all before her.Created in 1959,
Barbie is today sold in 150 countries and has won the hearts and minds of
little girls as far afield as Mumbai and Buenos Aires.She has thrived
almost everywhere, despite regular criticism from feminist groups who have
decried her influence on young girls’ body image and ambitions. Even in markets
where she is triumphant Barbie continues to court controversy.But it is in China,
arguably the most important consumer market in the world, where the
all-conquering doll has stumbled on her kitten heels.
after its grand opening.Now, as Barbie
attempts to crack China once again, has Mattel learnt from its earlier failure?
first open a store in China?
of the store successful?
why the launching of the store was not successful and tell your teacher.
part of the text
- On 9 March 1959 Barbie was unveiled at the New
York Toy Fair; the date is her official birthday
- Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent
- Mattel claims she has had more than 150
- She became a business executive for the first
time in 1985 and an astronaut in 1965
- More than one billion Barbie dolls have been
sold around the world
has she had? Can you name a few?
the Shanghai store was not done by half measures.It was not so much
a shop as a lifestyle concept.A grand spiral
staircase surrounded by more than 800 different Barbies climbed the building.And it was not just aimed at children.
closed Shanghai Barbie store
marketing the Barbie lifestyle to women in their 20s.Clothing lines for
women as well as young girls were part of the key products. Real life
brides-to-be were invited to coo over a Vera Wang Barbie wedding dress. “It was
confusing,” says Benjamin Cavender of China Market Research Group. “No-one knew
what the brand stood for and so instead of going for cute they went towards
sexy.” As well as clothes
and design-your-own dolls, shoppers could eat in the Barbie restaurant, relax
in the Barbie Spa and drink in the Barbie cocktail lounge.
not enough people knew who Barbie was. “It wasn’t
like in other countries where generations of women had grown up with
Barbie,” Mr Cavendar says.
this massive experience but not enough people came to find out about it as the
concept of Barbie wasn’t a pre-existing draw in China.”
of the problems with the Barbie store?
was located on Huaihai Road, one of the most prestigious shopping streets in
Shanghai.But on the ground
floor it was not clear to anyone passing exactly what was inside – you had to
enter the store and climb an escalator to feel the impact of the design.
shone outside. In China, a pink light district is associated with a much more
adult style of trade than selling toys and clothes.And despite the
location being sought after, it wasn’t easily accessible for shoppers.“There was
nowhere to park your car and it was not near a subway station,” says Mr
Cavender. “If you can’t
get to it and you don’t already know about Barbie, you’re just not going to
problem with the colour of pink?
other problems regarding the location of the store mentioned in the article?
learning are like oil and water in China,” a Mattel executive recently told the Wall Street Journal.
the first time round Barbie may have been too frivolous for the Chinese market.The toy market in
China, however, is big – and growing.Between 2009 and
2013, it nearly doubled in size to be worth about £5.5bn (53.8bn yuan; $8.7bn),
according to Euromonitor.Video games are far
and away the biggest category in the market.
well – as a company it is the fifth biggest toy maker in China with 1.4% of the
overall market.Its most successful
offering is the more learning-oriented Fisher Price brand, the 14th biggest toy
brand in China, according to Euromonitor. And Barbie could be going the same
understand by the phrase “Joy and learning are like oil and water in
is heavier/ more important than water (joy)
do not go together
popular in China?
brought Barbie back to the Chinese market. Only this time instead of clothes by
Oscar De La Renta she had a violin and you could buy Barbie for the much more
affordable price of $13 (£8.20).This year there was
another launch – a “specialty” Barbie doll in the likeness of Chinese
actress Fan Bingbing.
launch of the doll Mattel declared: “[Fan Bingbing’s] collaboration with
Barbie will give purpose and meaning to play and help ignite the spark inside
girls across China to ‘Shine Your Way’.”So it’s clear that
Barbie has learnt that to succeed in China today you have to have a sense of
purpose, but then she didn’t get the keys to the super-deluxe dreamhouse and
the perfect boyfriend Ken by being just a pretty face.
face of Barbie in China in 2014
launching of the Barbie doll in China
The article and pictures were taken from the BBC news website. The Questions are my own creation.Enjoy the session and please let me know how it went : )
Sorry for the formatting and layout of this post, but it was originally posted on my other blog (Blogger). As I am moving everything to my wordpress blog, I moved it here and this is what it looks like!!
Till next time…..