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In the Barbie World

Barbie movie poster featuring Margot Robbie

Brand Revival: In the Barbie World.

Photo: Warner Bros.

What’s going on?
Mattel unveiled their brand revitalization playbook and unboxed their iconic toy in the highly anticipated movie, “Barbie."

Directed by Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) with a star-studded cast and soundtrack – featuring (of course) a remix of Aqua’s 1990s hit, “Barbie Girl” – Mattel, Inc. and Warner Bros. Pictures’ movie has received massive build-up on social media for months now. But viewers expecting only to see Barbie living a perfect life will have their bubbles burst, as she ventures beyond the plush pearly gates of Barbie Land to discover the not-so-perfect truths about the real world.

Ahead of theaters rolling out their pink carpets, a full-on bubblegum marketing blitz has been in effect:

What's The Squeeze?
We’re all in Barbie’s World, and Mattel has strategically made sure of it with a brand resurgence worth recognizing.

After Barbie’s historic reputation of promoting unrealistic beauty standards and discriminatory representations, the 64-year-old brand was deemed irrelevant after record-low sales in 2015. Since then, Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson has utilized his ‘Mattel Playbook’ – which highlights purpose as “the most important element of any brand” – to give Barbie the ultimate makeover.

As Mattel’s corporate website now says, “Since 1959, Barbie’s purpose has been to inspire the limitless potential in every girl,” a nod to the brand’s repositioning that representation matters. Over the years, Mattel’s made efforts to make the Barbie line more inclusive by introducing dolls with a broad range of skin tones, body shapes and careers. And now, the Barbie movie features multiple portrayals of Barbie and Ken that are far from resembling a carbon-copy assembly line.

Even before its release, it’s safe to say that the movie has accomplished Mattel’s mission to reposition itself from a toy manufacturer to an intellectual property company that sparks cultural conversation. Mattel is one of the hottest stocks of the past month, with shares up 15%.

As Dickson puts it: “The evolution of Barbie can be seen as a case study of how brands with legacy reinvent themselves.”

Learn more from the Mattel Playbook and how the company will revitalize its other brands in the article below.

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