This is a true stroke of genius. The makers of Barbie have brilliantly positioned her in a campaign that wants little girls to know that no dream is too big to achieve.
Barbie is coming up against some stiff competition to win a place in hearts of today’s young girls. There are heroines in every animated children’s movie (and more are being released almost monthly) not least of which is the current doll-of-choice, Elsa, the heroine from Disney’s Frozen.
It is no secret that the Barbie brand is suffering. Sales have been steadily declining year-on-year for four years despite the launch of a more diverse range of dolls. In Mattel’s second quarter results, it was reported that Barbie sales had slipped 19% from the same period last year to $130.3 million.
In an ad for the now 56 year old the iconic doll (although she doesn’t look a day over 24); young girls are shown turning their dreams into reality as they fill the shoes of a professor and a veterinarian, among others. A selection of hidden cameras reveal the reactions of the unwitting onlookers and crowds around them as the girls get a glimpse at what their futures could hold.
On the surface this is clearly a video that promotes the Barbie brand. But at a deeper level, this is a video that serves as a reminder of the power of a child’s imagination and the endless opportunities ahead before they become jaded and disillusioned with the world around them.
Even deeper still, parents have also been questioning gender-specific toys that don’t necessarily promote girl empowerment. This video quickly and succinctly pushes Barbie to the front of the trolley. In this light, Barbie is not seen as a stay-at-home mom or a doting housewife. Barbie is saying that your child’s frame of reference is whatever you let it be. The Mattel mission around the Barbie campaign is to “convert parents into brand advocates” in the run up to the critical holiday season.
This campaign is not targeted at little girls. This campaign is targeted at moms who want their daughters to know the freedom of being everything and anything that they want to be when they grow up.