Sports Illustrated “Barbie” edition


For years both Barbie and Sports Illustrated have faced scrutiny for their depiction of women. Barbie by Mattel has been blamed for the unrealistic depiction of what women ought to look like, and Sports Illustrated has been blamed for portraying women in a demeaning, objectifying manner. Now, both of these major companies are teaming up to show that they are completely unapologetic (which is the title of their campaign).

For decades Barbie has been the #1 toy in the industry, however; as of recent her sales have declined. With Mattel teaming up with Sports Illustrated the marketing team is hoping to boost Barbie’s image and increase sales. In this latest issue, Barbie will be seen along side big name super models such as Christie Brinkely showing off what she is absolutely “unapologetic” for.

The big question here though is: Will this add a more positive effect on Barbie’s image? or will it simply add to the already existing negative ideas?

Barbie, all in all is a toy with a target market of young girls. Sports Illustrated is a sports magazine with a target market of adult men and/or women which uses sex appeal to sell issues. I do believe that no attention is bad attention if you are trying to draw attention to a brand or person; but if Mattel is trying to boost Barbie’s image, and sale in a positive way, I am not quite sure this is the best way to go about it.

Mother’s tend to be very opinionated and unsparing when it comes to things that may negatively affect their children. If Barbie now takes on the role of having sex appeal, and being “Unapologetic” for being unnaturally…flawless; will mother’s take to this? or will it only hurt them?

The marketing and branding team at Mattel have a big picture and have already started a major campaign. How much has been spent on this campaign is unknown, but we can only imagine it must be a lot. How things will turn out is unknown and we will simply just have to wait and see.




3 thoughts on “Sports Illustrated “Barbie” edition

  1. Whoa! Thanks for sharing this, Danielle. I have a feeling this will definitely start a media firestorm. Personally, I think it’s a terrible marketing ploy that links a child’s toy with overt sexuality, even more so because it’s a male ideal of female sexuality. I’m not sure I see the positives here. It seems you’re not to sure about it either. Did you play with Barbie as kid? What’s bugging you about the campaign?

  2. Interesting post Danielle, I had not heard about this until reading it now. They say any publicity is good publicity, but I am not sure exactly what will be achieved through this campaign, or what the goal of the campaign is in the first place. While this could help Barbie sell more because of increased advertising and exposure, I do not really see how this is supposed to strengthen the image of Barbie that has received criticism.

  3. I completely agree, Barbie and Sports Illustrated do not mix. If Mattel wants to be in the favor of the public, he should find a strategy that would appeal to young kids and their parents. I feel like this will not help the problem Barbie is in now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s