Quick Read: Rooted in a universal insight about play and its potential, Barbie’s new film is brilliant. But could that very insight be its undoing?
Using imagination as the USP to sell something is nothing new.
But using imagination as a means to reshape a brand’s narrative into that of a more affirmative and purportedly more inclusive discourse is.
At least that’s what the new Barbie campaign does. To good effect.
It’s twitter page shows how the brand has begun to drive conversations around topics like inspiring confidence, celebrating boldness, encouraging self expression and calling out the ‘inner superstar’.
For a brand that has often been accused of perpetuating an epidemic of body hatred, this campaign seems to hold promise in getting parents to reappraise the role Barbie can play in a child’s life. At least a cursory look into the comments in the film’s YouTube page seems to suggest so.
The film is great because of its brilliant insight – when a girl plays with Barbie she imagines everything that she can become.
But ironically it is this very insight that could be its undoing.
If when a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything that she can become, wouldn’t such an imagination naturally get rooted in a (misguided) notion – i.e., the notion that her dream of becoming this someone could be a function of her growing up to look as ‘perfect & pretty’ as the Barbie dolls seem to her?
The jury is out.
Only time will tell if this can make any substantial dent in the brand imagery for Barbie in the long term beyond the seemingly positive discourse of “seek your inner superstar”.
Meanwhile, did you hear about Lammily?
It is feted as as the “first fashion doll with realistic proportions”.
[Bonus Link: Did you know that every woman in every Disney/Pixar movie in the past decade has the exact same face? You should check this out.]
(Featured Image source: Barbie.com)