Mattel has launched a massive global campaign to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its famous Barbie doll brand. Rather than focus solely on its iconic toy, however, Mattel has turned its attention to 20 influential women and partnered with organizations that inspire young girls to follow their dreams.
Barbie turns 60 this year and it’s fairly safe to say that she’s aged quite well. Holding various careers throughout her productive, plastic life, the blond bombshell has been both praised and criticized for her empowerment and proportions, respectively. In recent years, Mattel refocused the Barbie brand to be more diverse, realistic-looking and offer hands-on programs to empower girls.
Mattel has also launched a new initiative called “The Barbie Dream Gap Project Fund. The term “dream gap” refers to the time between a girl dreams about possibilities vs. when she starts to doubt her ability. Mattel will donate $1 for every Barbie doll sold in the US between March 6 and March 11 to this fund up to $250,000.
A number of US pop-up activations will take place this weekend, beginning with an installation in NYC that includes art, fashion and a celebration of Barbie’s history.
On March 9 and 10, Grammy-nominated country music star Kelsea Ballerini will host the first of Barbie’s “Be Anything” tour. The tour will visit 36 US Walmart stores beginning in Bentonville, AR. Visitors will hear about Ballerini’s journey, enter to win $20,000 to make their own dreams come true and take part in “interactive experiences.”
Amazon will host a number of activations, as well. “Barbie Presented by Amazon” pop-up stores have appeared in five major markets across the US and will remain there to host Barbie experiences through April 2.
An exclusive Barbie-themed apparel collection for girls aged five-to-10 called “What Will You Be” will be offered at participating Target locations.
Visual messages will be displayed on global landmarks including the Empire State Building in NYC, Tokyo Skytree, CN Tower in Toronto and Bondi Beach in Sydney.
Just in time for Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Mattel revealed that 20 new women will be honored as part of Barbie’s 60th-anniversary celebration, as well as its ongoing “Shero” initiative. “Inspiring Women” dolls are modeled after real-life women that are considered to be positive role models. Previous examples have included pilot Amelia Earhart and artist Frida Kahlo, along with modern women like conservationist Bindi Irwin and mathematician Katherine Johnson.
This year marks the biggest and most diverse line-up that Barbie has honored to date, according to Mattel. This year’s “Shero” inductees include surfer Maya Gabiera, tennis player Naomi Osaka, cycling champion Kristina Vogel, ice skater Tessa Virtue, actress Yara Shahidi, activist and model Adwoa Aboah, artistic gymnast Dipa Karmakar, photographer Chen Man and Australian journalist Ita Buttrose.