This Super-Cute Barbie Ad Packs A Powerful Message

Photo: Courtesy of Mattel.
When I was little, I loved playing with Barbie. The best thing was that she could be anything — an astronaut, a teacher, a marine biologist. Barbie and I had that in common; our dreams didn’t have limits.

“What happens when girls are free to imagine they can be anything?”

That’s the question asked in Mattel’s new Barbie commercial that includes the tagline “You Can Be Anything.” The unscripted ad uses hidden cameras to capture moments where young girls pretend to be professionals in real-life settings. In it, the children play the roles of a businesswoman, pro soccer coach, and veterinarian.

The two-minute ad is part of Mattel's new "Imagine The Possibilities" campaign, which aims to prove that playing pretend with Barbie can help young girls realize their dreams.

The iconic toy was first created in 1959 and became a major hit because it was the first doll that didn’t resemble a baby. Since then, Barbie has held over 150 careers. She’s been a nurse, a police officer, a pilot, and a doctor. She even ran for president, a full two decades before Hillary Clinton.

But despite her glass-ceiling-breaking career aspirations, Barbie has received criticism for everything from the dolls' lack of diversity to their frighteningly unrealistic physique, which may contribute to body image issues in young girls. And let's not forget about 1992's "Teen Talk" Barbie that said the phrase "Math class is tough," adding to the sexist stereotype that women are bad at math.

This sharp backlash has affected Mattel’s profits — Barbie sales have been down for the last three years, Fortune reports. Competition from Bratz dolls and Disney’s popular Frozen line have only contributed to the teen doll's troubles. Mattel is hoping to turn a page in 2015 with 78 new dolls, with more realistic bodies and more diversity. The brand even unveiled a limited-edition Zendaya doll with dreadlocks.

And the brand isn't mincing words in its new campaign. It wants to shake loose its girl-stifling image and be known as an empowering toy (and brand), instead. The message echoes 1985 Barbie ad called “We Girls Can Do Anything,” another commercial with an encouraging message for young girls to accomplish their dreams. (How far we've come...)

Since the "You Can Be Anything" video was uploaded to YouTube on October 8, it’s been viewed over four million times, proving that a message of empowerment resonates better than pounds of predictable pink.

Watch the ad below and dream big:
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