Barbie Gets a Brand Makeover: Did it work?

As a brand, sometimes the toughest hits can come from your critics. Luckily, advertising is a powerful thing, so powerful in fact, that it can positively impact your brand opinion. Barbie dolls often get a bad rap for setting unrealistic body image expectations, however, recent advertising by Mattel attempts to tackle these critiques head on.

To take the attention off of her physical attributes, this ad aims to use Barbie as an intellectual and professional role model for young girls. This ad depicts young girls excelling in professional and academic settings, with Barbie as the inspiration.The concluding message reads: “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.”

Does this message deliver? Is the statement strong enough to quell the critics? With proper survey design and ad testing, we can assess this ad’s performance and answer these questions.

Know Your Audience

Arguably, real audience for toy commercials, are not the children who are playing with the toys, but rather, the parents who are purchasing them. You can screen for your audience using the following questions. In this case, we would want to screen for parents who have heard of Barbie and have daughters under the age of twelve, the maximum recommended age for Barbies.

  • What is your gender?
  • Are you the parent or legal guardian of any young girls under the age of 12?
  • Are you aware of the Barbie brand? (Unfamiliar, Somewhat Unfamiliar, Neutral, Somewhat Familiar, Very Familiar)

Dive deeper to figure out their pre-existing opinion of Barbie

  • Did you play with Barbie dolls as a child? (yes/no)
  • Do your children play with Barbie dolls? (yes/no)
  • Barbie dolls are ______ toys for young girls. (Very bad, bad, neutral, good, very good)
  • What is your current impression of Barbie? (Check any that apply) [checkbox, randomized]   (Cute, Expensive, Attractive, Sexist, Role-Model, For girls, For boys, Inspiring, Smart, Fun)

Open Ended Questions

Ask qualitative open-ended questions upon seeing the video. What was their initial first impression? What emotions did this video make them feel?

  • Using just a few phrases, please briefly describe your initial thoughts about this commercial: (open end)
  • In your opinion, besides getting you to buy the product—what is the main message of this commercial?

Actionable Insights

Next, delve into their likes and dislikes to assess whether or not the ad was persuasive enough to change the brand opinion, or increase their likelihood to take action and purchase a Barbie Doll.

Overall, I ______ this ad

  • Very much liked
  • Somewhat liked
  • Neither liked or disliked
  • Somewhat disliked
  • Very much disliked

How believable was this ad to you?

  • Somewhat believable
  • Neither
  • Somewhat unbelievable
  • Very unbelievable

How relevant was this ad to you?

  • Very relevant
  • Somewhat relevant
  • Neither
  • Somewhat relevant
  • Very relevant

How understandable was this ad to you?

  • Very understandable
  • Somewhat understandable
  • Neither
  • Somewhat confusing
  • Very confusing

I would remember this ad:

  • Very likely
  • Somewhat likely
  • Undecided
  • Somewhat unlikely
  • Very unlikely

After watching this ad, you are ________ to consider purchasing a Barbie for my daughter/ loved one.

  • Much more likely
  • More likely
  • Neither
  • Less likely
  • Much less likely

After watching this ad, you are ________ to recommend a Barbie to a friend or relative.

  • Much more likely
  • More likely
  • Neither
  • Less likely
  • Much less likely

After watching this ad, what is your current impression of Barbie?

(Check any that apply) [checkbox, randomized]

For girls
For boys

With these insights, you can assess the success of this ad. The results may surprise you! Looking to transform your critics into customers? Spot Trender can help you make positive changes to your brand’s ads. Spot Trender is a full-service ad testing company – we help our clients test their concepts/storyboards all the way to post-produced spots. Contact us now. We’ll work with you to craft powerful messages.




Join our
Mailing List

Get Pro Tips, Insights and Updates

Scroll to Top
Skip to content