Barbie. If you’re female, there’s a good chance you played with this iconic doll while growing up. What do you think of when you hear the word “Barbie?” Do you think of the pink convertible, Malibu, the Dream House? Or perhaps her boyfriend Ken and her blond hair and blue-eyes?
There’s a place in the toy market for this version of Barbie. The good news is that there’s also room for other types of Barbies. Barbie manufacturer Mattel has recognized that girls in America are diverse – not just regarding their ethnicities, but also body types. These girls are Mattel’s market, and as such they’ve made the business decision to represent all types of Americans by creating dolls who reflect their consumer base.
Mattel is moving away from the superficial aspects that often stereotype this doll (clothes! boys! shoes!) to re-position the brand as an inspirational role model for children. The promotional video below is an example of this:
Bloomberg News reporter Matthew Townsend, who hosts the Material World podcasts on Bloomberg.com, interviewed me for his most recent segment. His Material World podcasts look into consumer brands and provides insight “into why we spend our money on these things, the people behind the products — and why it matters.” In the podcast, I discuss if the new brand strategy resonates with me and provide reflection through the lens of a bicultural parent.
Check out my interview on the Bloomberg News Material World podcast below. The podcast features several contributors. If you don’t have time to listen to the entire episode and want to fast forward to my section, my quotes come in around 15:27 and 21:12.
What do you think of Mattel’s new Barbie brand strategy? Let us know in the comments!
Image: Screenshot from YouTube video.