Barbie's new target market? Dads...

The iconic Mattel doll has just launched a new advertising campaign encouraging fathers to play with their daughters' dolls

Barbie's new target market? Dads...

A still from Mattel's 'Dads who play Barbie' campaign [YouTube]

Toy company Mattel has proven itself capable of reading the social media temperature in recent years, having successfully launched a number of campaigns for its iconic Barbie doll. From developing more body types and skin tones to showing how Barbie can help girls imagine their future, now the company is trying to encourage fathers to get in on the action.

In a new advertising push that debuted during American football coverage over the weekend, the world’s most famous doll is looking to subvert typical gender roles with its Dads who play Barbie. The 30-second spot Doctor, in which a self-identifying “typical man’s man” tells how his Sunday football is often interrupted by a quick play session between him, his daughter, a couple of her dolls.

“You would do anything. Anything to make her happy,” the father tells the camera, in one of three unscripted adverts showing fathers at play with their daughters.

“We looking for families that consumers could not only relate to in one way or another, but that had a true and honest connection between them,” says Kristina Duncan, vice-president of global marketing communications with Barbie.

“These play moments were completely unscripted, so throughout the campaign you will see imaginations run wild, genuinely funny moments, and of course the sweet tender connections between these dads and their daughters.”

In designing their campaign, Duncan adds that the Barbie marketing team cited academic research that shows that girls who have loving, communicative, and supportive relationships with their fathers from early childhood will feel more confident and self-reliant growing up.

“We think it’s important to shine a spotlight on all of the role models in a young girl’s life that help to build self-worth and self-confidence, including men,” she said.

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