Mary meets Barbie
TV retail guru Mary Portas goes behind the curtain at Mattel to learn more about Barbie and her position as a modern role model
For the first time ever, Barbie granted a UK broadcaster behind-the-scenes access, as retail guru Mary Portas visited Mattel's LA HQ to learn more about the doll for Channel 4.
The one-off documentary investigating the phenomenon of one of the world's most popular toys, aired last night on Channel 4. Mary Portas found out more about the little doll, whose impact has reached every corner the world, and Mary was hoping to find out just how Barbie fits into the 21st century's expectations of womanhood.
With privileged access to Mattel Inc, the programme sees Mary head to the US, making a pilgrimage to the place where founder Ruth Handler started it all. On both sides of the pond, Mary meets experts, collectors and fans young and old to find out what has made the iconic toy become the worldwide multi-billion dollar business we know today. With a growing mix of amusements vying for children's imaginations, Mary asks: What does the future hold for the 30cm poseable plastic doll?
The programme offers a fresh take on the brand's journey over the past three years, since Mattel set out to change the way the world talked about Barbie. In an effort to get consumers to reappraise the brand, Barbie has made several bold moves, evolving communication from focusing on Barbie's material possessions to what the doll enables: that through open-ended play, storytelling and imagination, girls can reach their limitless potential. This was brought this to life with an award-winning advertising campaign, You Can Be Anything, that to date has more than 50 million views.