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New Barbie film tells little girls in India: ‘You can be anything’

A new campaign video for Barbie from India titled ‘You Can Be Anything’ features three young girls who harbour ambitions of becoming a chef, a gymnast and a standup comedian.

Through the course of the film, the girls get a chance to participate in an intensive mentorship programme, being coached in each of their chosen fields by chef Anjali Pathak, commonwealth games gymnast Meghana Reddy and entertainer Urooj Ashfaq.

Barbie – You Can Be Anything

We asked mothers what their daughters dream of becoming and we received an overwhelming response from them. Three young girls were matched with their role models to help them get closer to their dreams . Let’s celebrate these dreams and inspire young girls to imagine everything they can become. #YouCanBeAnything Meet Benaifer, Prina and Shreya! Urooj Ashfaq Meghana Gundlapally Anjali Pathak

Posted by Barbie on Friday, 12 October 2018

The film is the culmination of a digital activation launched earlier this year. Mattel, the makers of Barbie, invited mothers of young girls to send messages via Facebook outlining the dreams and ambitions of their daughters.

Mattel promised to give three winners of the contest a chance to get an actual experience of what the ‘dream job’ was like. The company reached out to mothers via targeted campaigns on Facebook, parenting forums and Instagram accounts of influencers who were popular with moms. 

Speaking about the response, Mattel’s head of marketing Lokesh Kataria said: “We got 1,000 entries in five weeks; we were expecting between 700 and 800. 20% to 30% of traffic came from Instagram.

“My big concern was whether mothers would use Facebook messenger — our response system for the contest — when it is so much easier to just leave a comment in a box.

“We learnt that when you come up with something engaging, people make the extra effort.”

“This campaign aims to drive the brand ideology and not sales”

The girls were selected after a round of internal judging featuring staffers at Mattel and its digital agency Schbang. The ‘You Can Be Anything’ video was released on 11 October to coincide with the International Day of the Girl Child

According to Kataria, Mattel took a conscious decision to keep purchases out of the programme. He said: “We were not looking to drive sales here. It was more about getting people to buy into the brand ideology.”  

The film garnered a million and a half views across platforms, according to Mattel. The company is toying with running a  promotion with a similar message next year too.

While the campaigns for Barbie have become a lot more progressive, the programming created around the doll directed at children —  Life in the Dreamhouse, for instance — have been little more than vacuous doll commercials.

Asked to address the contradiction, Kataria indicated that the change in orientation will affect this programming as well. He said: “We have announced a new division called Mattel Films with renowned content producers working on our IPs and brands.

“I’m sure Barbie is the first priority for that team to create more meaningful content for kids and parents.”

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