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Barbie’s New Commercial Rebrands With Imagination and Career Goals In Mind

Barbie’s had a few marketing missteps over the years — from when she complained that “math class is tough!” to when she learned how to code from her male peers — so it makes sense that modern-day parents would rather get their daughter a Frozen doll than a Barbie. This new Barbie ad comes on the heels of Mattel losing sales on the doll; Catch News reports that Barbie sales dropped 14% in 2014. Admittedly, Mattel also owns all of those Frozen dolls, too — but it seems the company don’t want to give up on Barbie just yet, since she represents something a little different, as can be seen in the latest ad.

Barbie’s extensive resume has always been her strongest suit, and this new ad playfully emphasizes how many different roles Barbie has taken on over the years. Through the use of hidden cameras, Mattel captured the gentle smiles of onlookers while very young girls pretend to perform Important Adult jobs not unlike those Barbie has had: veterinarian, neurology professor, soccer coach, science museum docent. At first, I didn’t quite see where the central conceit would go, but the last few seconds of the ad bring it all into better focus.

What do you think about Barbie’s new branding? It still feels a little shaky to me, since there’s more of an emphasis on how adorable the young girls look while they pretend to be adults, as opposed to, say, the importance of encouraging their career goals — but in general, this seems like a stronger direction than Barbie ads have attempted in the past.

(via Catch News)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).