Barbie has released the latest doll in its every expanding product range, but the newest addition Entrepreneur Barbie is much more than just a doll.
Launched among a wave of publicity Entrepreneur Barbie means business and has supported the launch with a brand platform, that celebrates women business leaders and aims to inspire and empower young girls.
Sporting the tagline: “If you can dream it, you can be it” Barbie and its owner Mattel have launched a dedicated platform and partnered with a diverse group of women entrepreneurs. These women include the founders of Girls Who Code, Rent the Runway, One Kings Lane, Plum Alley, Genuine Insights, Sugarfina and The TomKat Studio.
The doll comes with the usual back story and accessories that accompany every Barbie. “Barbie doll is ready to make a bold business move and strike out on her own, Her “smartphone,” tablet and briefcase are the tools of her trade and always by her side. Ready for the next big pitch, Barbie Entrepreneur doll wears a sophisticated dress in signature pink that features modern colour blocking and a sleek silhouette. Luxe details like a glam necklace, cool clutch, and elegant hairstyle are smart, professional touches.”
This time, however, there’s more to Barbie than just the doll. Barbie’s site shares information about the different entrepreneurs she’s partnered with as well as inspirational tips, career-themed games and activities.
According to Barbie’s Press Release: “Barbie has always encouraged girls that if you can dream it, you can be it. With the launch of the Entrepreneur Barbie doll, she is blazing trails along with other female leaders who are proud to be the boss. This year alone, female entrepreneurs have graced the cover of TIME’s Most Influential People issue and lead 1-in-5 start-ups. Alongside Barbie, female entrepreneurs are changing the world, surpassing their goals and showing girls they can be both capable and captivating.”
Barbie Millicent Roberts might be 55 years old but that is not stopping her from entering the entrepreneurial world with a goal to inspire young girls to dream big.
This is a fascinating new strategy from Mattel and one that is already grabbing headlines around the world.
In terms of the product range there is nothing revolutionary here, Barbie has been a business woman and an executive before, among a host of other big jobs – Astronaut, Presidential Candidate, Nascar Driver, Army Officer, Palentologist … the list on her CV goes on.
It’s clear that Barbie is on mission and she’s #unapologetic about it. It’s interesting too given the hard time that Barbie gets from critics the world over.
Despite being adorned by young girls around the globe, Barbie is quite possibly one of the most criticised toys in the world.
She faces a barrage of criticism for a long list of offences such as inspiring unrealistic body image aspirations, perpetuating out-dated stereotypes of feminity and promoting unhealthy ideas about beauty.
So did Mattel think Entrepreneur Barbie would temper this criticism? http://www.theguardian.com/women-in-leadership/2014/jul/07/i-run-my-own-business-so-why-am-i-worrying-about-my-looks
Clearly this platform aims to celebrate Barbie’s positive attributes and connect the brand with an inspiring message.
Entrepreneur Barbie is an empowering platform for young girls, it provides positive role models within the business world and reinforces the idea that women can be business leaders.
It’s great to see Barbie embracing the spirit of entrepreneurism and showcasing it to a generation of young girls. Embedding these messages at a young age is only positive and inspiring for young women.
But is this really aimed at kids?
The recent trend towards empowering young women means we’ve seen a lot of research and literature that suggests that young girls are empowered and full of dreams and potential – which suggests Barbie is nailing its target market with this doll.
The problems seem to come later when girls hit puberty and things start to change. Campaigns from brands such as Lean In and Always ‘Like A Girl’ have highlighted this time period as the main focus – which is interesting as it probably coincides with the point when girls stop playing with their Barbie dolls.
Traditionally Barbie advertising has gone straight for the kids with a halo effect of hitting the parents. This campaign, however, seems to be a significant shift in target audience as it goes directly for parents.
The LinkedIn campaign in particular makes it clear that the strategy behind Entrepreneur Barbie is very much about targeting adults.
The campaign is hoping to engage parents - presumably both male and female in a bid to appease their concerns about Barbie and encourage them to buy the dolls for their kids.
It’s in line with the work Mattel has been doing to reengage parents with the brand through The Barbie Project, which explored how kids and their parents felt about playing with Barbie. Clearly some of the insights from that project have inspired this campaign and platform.
Entrepreneur Barbie is a strange but fascinating move by Mattel. The target market will probably be unable to pronounce Entrepreneur, let alone spell it, but Mattel is hoping it provides parents with a wonderful dialogue to have with their children.
It also provides Mattel with a dialogue to have with adults and to re-engage parents with the brand.
With Entrepreneur Barbie, Mattel have created a smart and enduring platform which provides a great way to connect with the positive elements of the brand. The platform reinforces the brand’s place in inspiring and creating young girls dreams and empowering them to believe they can do anything.
As young girls are less interested with playing with dolls and more preoccupied with apps and computer games, Barbie’s relevance to young generations is shifting dramatically. By targeting parents Mattel is hoping to get Barbie back into children's bedrooms and into the minds of young girls.
A fascinating product development and brand platform. One to watch with interest.