I’ve never given my daughters, 5-year-old Caitlin and 2-year-old Cassidy, any Barbie stuff. I roll my eyes when they receive a Barbie toy as a gift, and I make it a point to avoid the Barbie aisle at the toy store.
Maybe I’m just a stodgy, old wet blanket, but I’ve always felt Barbie fed the notion that girls should aspire to be tall and thin with big boobs, lots of eye makeup and long, flowing hair.
The most important things in life are shopping, looking good, and, if at all possible, being a rock star.
And regardless of the occasion, women should wear high heels and show up in a hot pink convertible.
This year, when people asked for Christmas gift ideas for Caitlin and Cassidy, I went as far as to say, “No Barbie.”
Then I saw a Barbie TV commercial, which was a shortened version of this video. It blew me away.
Yes, it was adorable. Yes, it was hilarious. The “cute and funny” factor definitely helps any type of marketing content as long as it doesn’t overshadow the message.
But that’s not what made this commercial so powerful.
It was real. It was authentic. It was relatable.
And it didn’t abruptly transition into a cold, dry announcer voice delivering a lame call-to-action like a certain Super Bowl commercial that I despised.
It flowed seamlessly into a scene that showed what little girls do with dolls – pretend and use their imagination.
I could relate as a dad because this is exactly what my daughters do. They play with dolls and pretend to be in school, in a parade, on vacation, or at a birthday party.
As much as I believe in structured activities like dancing and soccer, I want my kids to use their imagination, be creative, and make up their own stories, games, songs and pictures. And I sure as hell don’t want them to obsess over superficial stuff like clothes and makeup.
Apparently, I’m not alone, and the folks at Barbie capitalized on this.
The theme of the commercial was brilliantly driven home by the intro:
What happens when girls are free to imagine they can be anything?
And the outro:
When a girls plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.
You can be anything.
Simple, powerful and believable.
But here’s why the commercial was truly successful.
It actually made me forget, at least temporarily, what I don’t like about Barbie.
Great marketing helps you overcome obstacles to the sale. Objections, preconceived notions, and misconceptions that prevent people from doing business with you.
If someone feels a certain way about a particular company, product or service, you can’t make that feeling go away overnight.
You’ll need many commercials, articles, blog posts, videos, emails or white papers, delivered consistently over the course of many months or years. That’s why consistent, long-term marketing is critical.
So will I run out and buy Barbie stuff to put under the Christmas tree for my girls?
But I’m not as opposed to it as I was before I saw that commercial.
And who knows? If the folks at Barbie continue to deliver that message, and develop more products that are consistent with that message, I may just venture into the Barbie aisle.