Advertiser: Mattel
Brand: Barbie
Agency: BBDO New York
Country: United States


The context: Unrealistic. Too blonde. Vain.

For 58 years, Barbie was an unmissable icon with over a billion dolls sold.1

Its parent company, Mattel, is one of the largest toy companies in the world, and Barbie, its flagship brand, was one of its most popular – occupying almost 30% of Mattel's total revenues and 40% of profit.2 Before 2014, it was estimated that one Barbie doll was sold every three seconds.3

Figure 1: Barbie quarterly sales, Q4 2013 - Q3 2015

But the toy market experienced a sharp decline in 2013 and Barbie was shrinking alongside it.4 By 2014, the Barbie brand was no longer growing,5 sales were down 16%, and for the first time ever, Barbie fell from the number one spot as the hottest toy for girls for the Christmas season, losing her crown to Disney's "Frozen."6