Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

You can be anything! How a doll inspired girls all over the world! [Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

May 8, 2020

One of the fondest memories of our childhood was playing with our favorite toys.

Stuffed animals, toy cars, action figures, bricks, and dolls. There was something for every kid to play with.

For a lot of girls, this particular toy provided them with some of their fondest childhood memories.

The Barbie™ Doll.

Launched in 1959 by Mattel Inc., this fashion doll became one of the most popular toys of all time.

Barbie wasn’t just any ordinary doll… she would become influential in the world of pop culture! The doll was featured in different kinds of media such as movies and cartoons. She even has her own set of movies!

It’s been six decades and the doll remains to be a global toy icon.

However, competition from other toy brands and new technology such as smartphones and tablets have affected their sales. Kids today prefer interactive digital media like video games and apps.

To keep up with the competition and trend, the brand needed a strategy to generate more sales while staying relevant and an inspiration to a new generation of children.

The strategy?

A guerrilla marketing campaign called “You Can Be Anything.”

It started with a question: “What happens when girls are free to imagine they can be anything?”

The ad, created by advertising agency BBDO San Francisco, featured little girls taking over different kinds of adult jobs.

–    A college professor

–    A veterinarian

–    A soccer coach

–    A paleontologist

–    A traveling business executive

Each of these girls were doing their best, showing that they can do as well as adults too!

The campaign promoted a positive and encouraging message:

Girls can pursue any career they want and can achieve anything they can imagine.

According to BBDO’s Executive Creator Matt Miller:

“Barbie, the brand, knew that society and culture did not understand who Barbie really was or the good that Barbie really did. They watch girls play with the doll. They have seen how it is influential to them. There was this frustration, I think, to help… tell the real Barbie story.”

As a brand, they not only wanted to sell dolls that girls can play with, but also inspire them to pursue their dreams. To achieve that, they released the Barbie Careers line, which featured Barbie dolls in different uniforms that represented a number of professions!

Since Barbie is one of the most recognized brands in the world, their credibility helped in delivering a strong and inspiring message to young girls.

This campaign was a great move and it contributed to making their brand more relevant in the 21st century.

As part of the campaign, they also set up pop-up booths in malls that had boxes little girls can open.

Each box had different careers written on them, like a doctor, gymnast, and even rockstar! Inside, there was a Barbie doll dressed as what was written on the box and also, accessories and uniforms that the girls can wear to match!

The campaign helped Barbie’s sales increase in 2016, generating over USD 972 million—up from USD 906 million the year before.

It also won Best New Media Campaign in the 2017 Toys Award.

Barbie’s guerilla marketing campaign is an example of how you can use a positive message to attract and gain the loyalty of your target audience.

They chose a different and light-hearted approach that inspired many and showed what their brand is all about.

Barbie is considered as one of the veterans of the toy industry. Despite being a 60-year-old brand, they’ve found ways to remain relevant and appeal to different generations of their target market.

Not all brands have this kind of lasting appeal. Barbie changed with the times and used strategies like guerrilla marketing to deliver their positive message.

Guerrilla marketing is not only a way to diversify your strategy, but also a new way to present and promote your brand!

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing is inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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