|A timeless fashion icon will finally get the digital makeover she deserves. This summer, one of the most iconic figures in American history will debut a revamped social media presence targeting the next generation of Americans. Yes, it’s official: Barbie is the latest breakout Instagram star.
In June, toy maker Mattel rolled out a new Barbie “Fashionistas” line, which features 23 new dolls with eight skin tones, 22 hairstyles, and 23 hair colors. The campaign is an attempt to make Barbie more culturally diverse for the 21st century.
The company has already introduced a new wave of television ads, the medium where most of Barbie’s advertising budget has been spent in the past. Starting this June, Mattel is also updating the toy’s social marketing strategies to re-brand her for modern kids. A Barbie style-focused profile on Instagram has already collected more than 815,000 followers, who share photos of the doll doing yoga and wearing new outfits.
In just the last two years, the number of marketers who say that Facebook is either “critical” or “important” to their social marketing strategies has surged 83%. In addition, YouTube is the most common “fave” media outlet among young people between the ages of eight and 11, and so Mattel has hired YouTube “influencers” to promote the new Barbie line.
Social media experts define influencers as social media users with massive followings, especially among young people, and who often act as digital trend setters. They also monetize their social media presence by serving as brand partners for companies eager to connect with younger consumers, like Mattel hopes to do with Barbie.
“Using YouTube influencers to get girls to connect in the space of fashion and style was a great addition to how we’re talking to girls,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, Senior Vice President and Global Brand Manager for Barbie.
Mazzocco hopes the new Barbie campaign will “empower girls” to express themselves, and of course, sell more toys. In 2014, Barbie lost her spot as the #1 most popular toy for girls to a powerful newcomer in the industry — “Frozen” toys and dolls.