Ken’s makeover gets Barbie back

Barbie doll in wedding dress holding bouquet

Flickr user: virgirm

Barbie clearly is a legend. Around since 1959, girls have been dressing her up and combing her hair for generations. In a recent, amazing, PR campaign, toy maker Mattel was “bolstering” awareness of Barbie’s longtime beau, Ken. His 50th Birthday was on March 11, 2011. Although he sort of made a comeback in Toy Story 3 last summer, what really helped put him back on the map, was Hulu’s web series “Genuine Ken.” A reality show looking for the ultimate boyfriend for every occasion, hosted by MTV’s “The Hills” star Whitney Port. Reality show plus cute boys is definitely a recipe for success. This came right before Ken’s 50th birthday, hoping, of course, to drive sales. The web series looks awesome, something I would even watch! I like the idea that the campaign included so much social media. Ken’s Facebook and Twitter, Barbie’s Facebook and Twitter, the Valentine’s Day anticipation where we all wondered if after the break-up in 2004 Barbie would take Ken back? Brilliant. This was all a “great way for grown-up boys and girls to stay connected to the brand,” according to Stephanie Cota, senior vice president for worldwide marketing, Mattel girls brands. I haven’t thought about Barbie or Ken in quite some time, but this campaign really brought the whole brand to my attention and I even thought, wow, I want to go buy my nieces a new Ken doll. I want them to have the newest, most updated, “Genuine Ken.” How cool is that for the ones who came up with this whole idea? They did an awesome job. I can’t get over how cute and refreshing it is to actually see positive, good news and appropriate content online and this campaign accomplished all that. Although I thought that the new Ken would look like the winner of the web series, I found out that the new Ken doll line was released in January, before the contest was shown online. Go Ken!


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