In the magical world of Barbie there’s a place for dads too. #DadsWhoPlayBarbie is the new campaign launched by Mattel in January during the NFL playoffs through a huge investment in TV, digital and print marketing. What’s the goal? To reach dads, and tout the benefits of using your imagination and telling stories the way kids do through Barbie.
Self discovery through imagination
A 90-second short shows what can happen when 3 dads play Barbies with their daughters. The video closes with a claim that highlights how the involvement of fathers in imaginative games with their kids is important for their emotional, social and intellectual development: “time spent in her imaginary world is an investment in her real world”. As Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Barbie stresses, “Spotlighting father-daughter relationships through playing with Barbie continues to articulate the importance of imagination and creativity on a girl’s journey to self-discovery.”
#DadsWhoPlayBarbie is the continuation of the multiple award-winning campaign “imagine the possibilities”, which celebrates that journey that every child can take through playing Barbie. “Over the past year, Barbie has enabled girls to imagine themselves in aspirational roles that range from the fantastical to feminist, from princess to paleontologist.” Likewise, years of field research by Dr Linda Nielsen, psychologist and professor at Wake Forest University, shows that girls who have a stable and loving relationship with their fathers, stemming from open dialogue and support during their childhoods, are more confident about their own abilities when they grow up.
Barbie: a social phenomenon?
This is the first time that Barbie has launched a brand awareness campaign on TV in the United States. These ads, 5 in total, have already found a fair amount of success even outside the American borders thanks to social networks, and will be reimagined throughout 2017 in digital form. On Twitter, fathers have already been invited to tell the stories behind their own games with their kids, thanks in part to Social Native, Tongal and Time Inc, which are all actively collaborating with #DadsWhoPlayBarbie.
So in sum, it looks like Barbie has before her an important fan base that isn’t aware of gender, racial, or age stereotypes. It’s like all the best stories with a happy ending.
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