Blue Star

Barbie Cues
Scott Sullivan
Millennial parents, Mattel’s global insights team found, want to give girls toys that have meaning, unlike parents who went before them. Starting this autumn Mattel will aim ads at parents. During “Dancing With the Stars” and some ABC holiday programs, 30-second commercials will show a girl pretending to be a science professor teaching her symposium of Barbies about the brain. In July Mattel rolled out President and Vice President Barbies, also aimed at em-powering girls, not reinforcing gender stereotypes and limiting their career choices. What speaks for diversity better than Barbie as Pres-dent and Vice President? If it’s a choice between them, Trump or Clinton, it’s a no-brainer who gets my vote.

What is life coming to? First Mattel gave its 60-plus-year-old Barbie dolls plastic surgery: three new body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hair styles. This was meant to address:

1) Parents who think the slim, buxom, blonde, white traditional Barbie sends a bad messages to girls about body standards, and

2) Sales have slipped every year since 2009 to just $906 million last year. Nothing awakens the corporate social conscience like slumping sales.

Mattel researchers found Barbie’s body was only part of her problem. “A lot of the conversation,” Tanie Missad, the toymaker’s senior director of global insights, told The Washington Post, “was focused on what Barbie had — her stuff.”

For full story, pick up a copy of the Aug. 4 Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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