Dads Who Play Barbie


There has been a lot of football this winter, and we are used to seeing the usual advertisements for cars, trucks, beer, and snacks. But, did you notice an unusual ad during the NFL playoff games? Perhaps an ad for a toy not usually directed at men? Any guesses?

If you guessed that Mattel has been airing Barbie doll ads during football, you are right! What – Barbie and football? Yep. Mattel’s new campaign is focused on dads who play Barbie. But, why focus on Barbie for dads? Research shows that an active engagement with their daughters by dads can help promote independence and achievement.

The new campaign is a follow-up to the “Imagine the Possibilities” campaign that Mattel ran several years ago to promote diversity of cultures and bodies. With the campaigns, the company has made the doll more relevant and engaging with young girls – and their dads.

Go ahead – you’re never too old to play with dolls and imagine the future!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Have students develop the target market for Barbie dolls. Odds are that they select girls and women as the target market.
  2. Next, show the video of dads playing Barbie:

  1. Now have students define the target market. Has it changed?
  2. Have students discuss the effectiveness of the new campaign. How does it change the marketing of Barbie?
  3. Also show the previous campaign ad:

  1. Bring up a research report from
  2. In teams, have students review the findings and then apply the findings to additional toys or products for dads and daughters.


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