In a first for toy brand Mattel, a new advert for their new Moschino branded Barbie features a young boy playing with the doll, all smiles and winks with his female buddies. ‘Moschino Barbie is so fierce!’ the boy says to the camera as he holds Barbie’s purse before placing it on her arm.
Check it out below.
Sure, It’s a brave and bold move for Mattel, aiming to bring down the “boys play with trucks and girls play with dolls” stereotypes we’ve been accustomed to for generations and the move in general is a step forward in breaking down those gender stereotypes that we were all brought up with.
While watching the advert for the very first time, I applauded the introduction of a boy into the girl aimed market which acknowledges the fact that yes, there are boys who like to play with dolls too, especially in an time where more and more parents are becoming vocally against toy segregation in shops and more viral videos are popping up showing young boys embracing the Frozen phenomenon, it was great to see Mattel step up – or at least I thought…
See, then it dawned on me, this advert is for a collectible designer Barbie doll that retailed for $150 and not some jewel hair mermaid rocker Barbie that can be found in shops for $20+. The target audience for this advert isn’t children who ask their parents to buy the dolls for them but for adult collectors who bought out the limited edition of 700 within an hour (and are now re-selling on the secondary market for $400-$800!!).
This advert won’t air on television during programs aimed at the 8-14 year old market or be found in catalogs crammed into mail boxes resulting in no little boys going to find this doll and thinking…”If the boy in the ad is playing with one, then I want it!”
It’s a kind of “the thought was there but we’re not going 100% with it” moment from Mattel.
Doing a bit of research it seems other people took notice of this fact which prompted Mattel to release the following statement to BBC News.
“This video parodies iconic Barbie commercials from the 1980’s starring a young [Moschino creative director] Jeremy Scott look alike. The video celebrates how boys and girls alike play with Barbie – it’s all about self-expression, fashion, imagination and storytelling.” Mattel added that the commercial (or fauxmercial as noted by Mattel) was created by them – but with Mr Scott calling the creative shots.
So yes, let us applaud Mattel/Jeremy Scott for breaking toy based stereotypes and finally including a boy into the world of Barbie doll advertising but let’s not be blinded to the fact that this is a marketing campaign about a designer doll played with by children that was directly aimed at an adult market.
Let’s just wait and see if this is only a first move by Mattel into breaking down those boys toys vs girls toys barriers.
Oh, and by the way, the video is hosted on Moschino’s YouTube page, not Barbie’s.