Barbie Time > Football Time
Playing with Barbies: it’s as much of an American pastime as football. But who would expect a man to swap his Sunday game for “Barbie time.” Mattel thinks that should change.
Since early 2016, the iconic toy company has been on a mission to update Barbie’s old-fashioned ideals. The first phase of the brand’s makeover was promoting a healthier beauty standard for young girls, expanding the doll’s notoriously unrealistic measurements to include body types that actually look like they could house internal organs.
The current phase in Barbie’s metamorphoses is a campaign called “Dads Who Play With Barbie.” During the AFC Championship game in January, Mattel rolled out a series of commercials featuring real six real dads and daughters, which is a refreshing new angle for the company. “As a brand that talks to mom mostly…we thought it would be interesting to create a piece of content that was more inclusive of dad and his point of view,” said Michelle Chidoni, Mattel’s Vice President of Global Brand Communications.
For its AFC debut, the spot opened with a father claiming to be a typical “man’s man”- only to then show him crouched on the floor of his daughter’s bedroom with a pink-haired Barbie, who is awaiting her “doctor’s appointment” with another doll.
Mattel successfully captured my heart and short attention span (along with 94 million other people), and that’s coming from a serial commercial skipper. In 30 adorable seconds, the brand achieves a balance of emotional and cultural appeal. There’s no reason parents should adhere to outdated gender norms that can hinder opportunities to connect with their children.
My favorite part of #DadsWhoPlayBarbie is the tag line, “Time spent in her imaginary world is an investment in her real world.” Mattel’s campaign elevates playing with Barbie to a new level – one that is time well spent, for both daughters and fathers.