Reimagining Barbie: Mattel asks your little girl, “What do you want to be?”

barbie promo

Barbie goes back to its roots for a new marketing push this holiday season. Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, explained, “my whole philosophy behind Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything that she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

What are do you do when your sales are dropping and your competitors’ products are more high-tech? 1.) Repurpose the reason for your product and 2.) Come up with some really impactful lifestyle marketing to show how your product can empower little girls. Perhaps inspired by campaigns like the Always #likeagirl, Mattel and Barbie join the conversation about girl empowerment.

Take a look at the ad that caught the attention of many (it was noted on the Adweek leaderboard for being one of the most watched ads in October of 2015) .

As a toy maker, you have a duel purpose in your marketing efforts, to interest children and win the wallets of their parents. Toy marketers often default to the nagging abilities of children, but this tactic has been exhausted on Barbie — a 56-year-old product. Instead, it seems the new marketing efforts hope to win the hearts of their parents so that they push Doctor Barbie or Professor Barbie to their children.

The jury is out on whether or not this campaign will cause an uptick in Barbie sales this season, but its timely release right before the holiday shopping season is no doubt geared toward getting Barbie in the hands of millions of dreaming little girls.