Is Barbie’s ‘Be Super’ Campaign Enough To Rescue The Doll From It’s Image Crisis?

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Here’s the latest installment in the Barbie makeover saga. She is no longer a doll trying out over 150 different careers, gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine or updating her own Linkedin page. Nope, now Mattel have decided the best way for her to be a positive influence in the lives of young girls as she was almost 50 years ago when she didn’t have to compete with the likes of Bratz, American Dolls and others, is to be a superhero.

Enter the Be Super campaign which is all about “princess power” and promoting everyday girls as real life super heroes. Barbie’s new incarnation isn’t about being Ken’s arm candy or sporting the latest outfit, nope, it is about encouraging young girls that kindness, generosity, friendship and other positive traits are what makes a person “super”. Could it be that they have finally got it right?!

At the 2015 New York Toy Fair in February, Mattel debuted the new-look Barbie and shared insight as to why the change of direction in their marketing.

They conducted a survey with over 2,400 participants around the world of girls ages three to 10 and found that 90 percent wished there were more superheros designed for girls. In response, Mattel created a new feature film, line of dolls, costumes, and more under the ‘Barbie in Princess Power’ name, reports Bustle.

“While some popular toy brands push a mom/parent’s POV on girls saying that they can’t be a princess AND an engineer, Barbie knows that they see the duality and want both,” they said in a press release, arguing that girls don’t have to deny their femininity to be a superhero.

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One of the girls being featured as part of the Be Super campaign in Canada is 12 year-old Faith Dickinson from Lakefield, Ontario. She was one of only 4 girls to be chosen as one of the real life superheroes in this campaign for her work with a non-profit called Cuddles for Cancer.

In fact, she started Cuddles for Cancer herself as an initiative to help cancer patients at her local hospital feel warm and loved during chemotherapy treatments by donating blankets. The idea soon spread as word got out about her innovative idea, and now there are patients around the globe who benefit from this 12-year-old’s super idea for spreading kindness.

She has raised over $15,000, and delivered over 1200 blankets in 2.5 years to patients all over the world.

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Is 2015 the year of the feminist Barbie marketing campaign? We gotta admit, after a few false starts, this may finally be the direction the world has been waiting for from one of the toy market’s most popular doll.

But if you are still unsure about Barbie and don’t think she is a positive enough role model for your youngster just yet, there are plenty of other options in the doll market alone that you can choose from.

Nickolay Lamm created the Lammily Doll in response to the outrage over Barbie’s unhealthy, unrealistic body proportions and messaging. His crowd-funded idea was such a huge success he has now gone into production and is remarkably different from Barbie.

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Nickolay created Lammily’s body proportions based off scientific proportions of an average woman in her mid-20s, included add-on features such as stretch marks, cellulite (in order to normalize these things in the mind of a young girl) and purposely didn’t give the doll a waistline or a bust size that wouldn’t be seen in real life. In short, she is the everyday “normal” answer to Barbie.

The Lammily line just released it’s first advertising spot ‘Do You’, which is a cute fun video showing why she is a positive and more affirming role model to young girls.

We believe in collaboration instead of competition and if we are finally in the stage of toy manufacturing where there is more than one option of an empowering doll with a powerful, smart, intelligent and inspiring message behind the brand, then bring it on.

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: New Netflix Show 'Project Mc2' Aiming To Make STEM Cool For Girls

  2. Pingback: Do These Recent Barbie Campaigns Indicate A More Empowering Direction For Mattel? - GirlTalkHQ

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