Can Barbie become a good role model for girls?

A new Barbie ad is attempting to align the doll brand with empowerment for girls. And it works surprisingly well…

Titled Imagine the Possibilities, the ad features a number of scenarios where girls stand in for adults in professional jobs, such as a veterinarian, a sports coach, a university lecturer and a businesswoman. Hidden cameras then film the adult reactions to the kids playing their parts. At the end the film cuts to a young girl play acting with her Barbie dolls, and bing, Barbie suddenly sheds her ditzy image and becomes a doll representing real women.

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This ad is the latest sign that brands are waking up to the commercial promise of feminism (see Always’ Like A Girl for the most successful example in a sea of other recent ads in this trend). It’s refreshing to see a brand as potentially troubling as Barbie stepping into the game though and is a sign that maybe brands such as Mattel are recognising the demand for a wider range of representations of women and girls in toys.

While the reaction cam technique is far from new in ads, the responses here feel pretty genuine and the kids stay on the right side of precocious in their performances (the business woman is particularly funny). Here’s hoping this is the beginning of a new image for Barbie – imagine the possibilities.

Credits:
Agency: BBDO San Francisco
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Executive Creative Director: Matt Miller
Executive Creative Director: Steve Rutter
Senior creatives: Adam Balogh, Jason Moussalli
Production company: Slim Pictures Inc
Director: Karen Cunningham

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