Barbie has been criticized a lot over the past few decades. Some have accused the popular toy line of giving girls “unrealistic” or a “false” sense of what a woman is supposed to look like. Some have blamed Barbie for eating disorders and earlier in the year, the “Dolls of the World” Barbie collection was accused of promoting cultural stereotypes. The Girl Scouts even asked to end their partnership with Barbie because Mattel allowed the doll to be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Mattel is hoping to get a lot of fans back with their new line of “Entrepreneur Barbies.”
Via Fast Company
The doll’s marketing backstory explains that she has partnered with eight female entrepreneurs, who serve as her “Chief Inspirational Officers” (CIO). (Never mind the fact that eight people in charge of “inspiration” doesn’t sound like a very solid business plan.)
To Barbie’s credit, she’s assembled an impressive board of fellow women entrepreneurs, including Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code; Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus, founders of One Kings Lane; and Jennifer Hyman andJenny Fleiss, founders of Rent the Runway, among others.
The roles of Barbie’s CIOs is touted as part of a bigger mission that hasn’t been attached to the doll’s past careers. Several of the entrepreneurs took part in a Twitter chat on Wednesday using the hashtag #BarbieChat. The campaign also includes a LinkedIn page for Barbie and a billboard in Times Square using the hashtag #unapologetic (a nod to the fact that women often feel like they have to apologize for their presence in male-dominated careers).
But empowering messages like these seem more likely to reach and resonate with moms than little girls.
I’m not 100% sold on the idea that this line will help Barbie’s PR team with their recent problems with critics but I’m sure it will still sell with kids and collectors.