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:
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

So you're at a networking event and you have no idea what to say to the person you've just met. Do you ask about their job, even though it sounds boring? ...
Update: Greathouse has just relented on his Twitter feed, calling the original blog post "dreadful" and apologizing that he "told women to endure the ...
I get so nervous before job interviews — sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in my stomach. It’s really not fun. But once I’m sitting down with the ...
Refinery29 joined the Clinton Foundation for a tour of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to get a firsthand look at the experiences of the women and girls who live ...
So, you've graduated from college, updated your LinkedIn, and have been hitting up your network like crazy. You had an amazing first interview, you ...
If the new phrase for the office BFF is the "work wife," then is a good boss or mentor your "work mom" or "work dad"? Part authority figure, part dispenser...
The morning at my insurance firm was hectic. My first appointment after lunch was a balding man in his mid-50s. I smiled at him warmly and attempted ...
You know what's easy? Spending money. It's the best way to get what you want right now. Except...this is not sustainable. Those little luxuries add up ...
9:30 p.m. — HANGRY. Get home and eat canned soup and watch Netflix before bed
Any recent grads freaking out about their job prospects need not fear: Apparently the demand for exorcists has never been higher. The Telegraph reports ...
9:45 a.m. — Starbucks reward, bitches! OBV I get the most expensive thing that I can concoct. A Venti 5 shot soy latte. Yum
Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
After months of waiting and countless discussions about what the future holds for our favorite television characters, Shondaland shows are finally back. ...
Just after my son’s first birthday, I was on the phone with my mom, grappling over a gut-wrenching decision. I was scheduled to go on a business trip but...