Once registered, you can:

  • - Read additional free articles each month
  • - Comment on articles and featured creative work
  • - Get our curated newsletters delivered to your inbox

By registering you agree to our privacy policy, terms & conditions and to receive occasional emails from Ad Age. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Are you a print subscriber? Activate your account.


By Published on .

Mattel this week shifts the spotlight from Barbie to the little girls who adore her.

In new work from Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Los Angeles, Mattel moves away from doll-laden product ads to a new image campaign designed to appeal to moms. The TV spots depict girls imagining they can "Be anything"-a princess, queen of the ocean or soccer champion of the universe.

Print ads feature b&w photos of girls with the Barbie logo and slogans such as "Girls rule" and "True girl" written across the bottom in bright pink.

New Yorkers get a sneak peak at the TV, print and outdoor work this week. The image campaign then breaks nationally in April.

In the new TV spots, the Barbie doll appears briefly and in only a few frames of the TV spots. There are no dolls shown in the print ads.

"We're trying to show that Barbie is about dreams and empowerment and letting girls aspire to anything," said Rick Boyko, O&M president and chief creative officer.


The new campaign is part of a yearlong celebration of Barbie's 40th birthday.

"It all ties together in an overall celebration of 40 years of dreams," said Anne Parducci, senior VP of Barbie marketing. "The campaign is about enhancing the brand image and making Barbie relevant to today's girls and moms."

This is Mattel's first image campaign for Barbie in 15 years. In the mid-'80s, the theme was "We girls can do anything."

Mattel and O&M tested the latest campaign with mothers and girls. The core group of girls for Barbie are ages 3 to 8, though 8-to-10-year-olds also were tested to see how the older girls would respond.

The results were overwhelmingly positive. When told they would be paid to participate in the focus group, the older girls asked if they could have the posters to hang in their bedrooms instead of money.

"It's hard to get girls at that age to respond, especially in a group situation. They all reacted very positively," Mr. Boyko said.

Mattel plans to play off that initial interest in creating promotions with retailers to give posters away with Barbie purchases.


To create the campaign, several O&M offices worked together, including both the New York and Los Angeles offices, and sibling agency Cole & Weber, Seattle.

Mr. Boyko said the new Barbie work is the first time he acted as North American point person, through whom creative work funneled from several different offices.

It's part of a broader agency strategy O&M refers to as "long hallways," where

Most Popular
In this article: