Barbie: From Blonde Bombshell to the Boss

By: Gina Mason

With sales declining, Barbie may no longer be America’s sweetheart, but she sure is getting a lot of press lately. For the second time this year, the creators of the blonde beauty have made some bold moves to keep people talking about her. In an attempt to modernize the 55-year-old doll, Mattel has pulled out all of the stops to keep her relevant in our world dominated by technology and electronic toys.

So what did they do? Last week, Mattel released its newest Barbie doll and announced her 2014 career of the year. However, this new Barbie is much more boss lady than blonde bombshell. This Barbie in particular is not only blonde and beautiful, but she is a business owner. Dressed in her signature pink and equipped with start-up essentials like a tablet, smartphone and briefcase, Entrepreneur Barbie is ready for business.

In addition to her new look and personal mantra of “If [you] they can dream it, [you] they can be it,” this Entrepreneur Barbie was inspired by some of the most powerful female CEOs in the world. According to a Mashable article, “Mattel partnered with a power team of real female leaders — otherwise known as Barbie’s “chief inspiration officers,” or CIOs — who have founded their own businesses, including Girls Who Code, Rent the Runway and One Kings Lane, among others.” These CIOs not only assisted with the concept of Entrepreneur Barbie, but they also shared some of their best business tips with Barbie’s budding business owners.

On top of Barbie’s new look, job and business background, Mattel took its campaign one step farther and created a digital strategy around the doll. After all, what startup business in 2014 doesn’t have a digital strategy? For the younger Barbie fans, Barbie.com offers explanations of what an Entrepreneur is and how they can become one along with career-themed games and activities. For the older, social media using Barbie fans, Entrepreneur Barbie and her CIOs hosted a Pink Power Lunch last week that featured a Twitter chat with the hashtag #BarbieChat. Mattel also created a LinkedIn page for Entrepreneur Barbie that lists her job as ““Dream Incubator” where she “act[s] as a consultant, helping girls around the world play out their imagination, try on different careers, and explore the world around them.”

So far, there has been mixed opinions on Entrepreneur Barbie. Some love the concept and think that Entrepreneur Barbie will inspire young girls to become businesses owners. Others feel that slapping some technology and a CEO title on a doll is a poor representation of female business owners. Some also feel that Entrepreneur Barbie is a strategic move by Mattel to make up for the Sports Illustrated fiasco that occurred a few months ago.

For those of you who didn’t hear about the Barbie controversy, Mattel partnered with Sports Illustrated and the doll was featured in the 50th Anniversary edition of the infamous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Some of you may be thinking, “Barbie in Sports Illustrated?” The answer is YES. Sports Illustrated featured Barbie as “the doll that started it all” and she had an #unapologetic attitude. This was a bold move for the toy brand and it was not well received by the public. Mothers and feminist everywhere were furious over the bathing suit babe Barbie in the sports magazine and felt that it was furthering the unrealistic expectations of beauty and the objectification of women.

Whatever the reason for Entrepreneur Barbie’s creation, I think anything that inspires young girls to go after their dream is something positive. That message is essential young girls and it should be reiterated more frequently whether it comes from a doll, a pop star or their parents.

What did you think of Entrepreneur Barbie? Did you think she was a hit or a miss? Do you think Mattel is doing a good job at keeping Barbie relevant or do you think the doll is nearing the end of her time?

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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