A new ad campaign, however, finally seems to be making Barbie some new friends and repairing her relationship with old ones who had a falling out. The commercial, which has been gaining millions of viewers online since its release a couple weeks ago, more effectively puts the focus on Barbie's many careers and the professional dreams they can inspire in girls. It's almost as though Mattel took notice of a piece last year in Time magazine by Charlotte Alter, in which she wrote:
The great irony of the Barbie debate is that we spend so much time talking about how she looks and so little time talking about her careers — all 150 of them. She represents beauty and materialism, sure, but she also represents mutability, imagination and professional possibilities. If we took her work life half as seriously as we took her waist measurement, we could use Barbie as a way to talk to girls about the jobs they want, not the bodies they want. Barbie knows how to ask for a promotion, you can give her that.
The new commercial captures adults' reactions on hidden camera when young girls appear as their veterinarian, coach, corporate executive and professor.
An ad campaign that features little girls and their leadership dreams? It's easy to see how that better taps into the imagination of today's kids and the more discerning consumerism of today's parents.