Oftentimes in an organization, we get locked in to who our customer is and spend all of our energy coming up with new ways to communicate with that group. It takes an extra dose of thinking outside of the box to develop a new audience, but that is what Mattel has done with their new Barbie campaign.

After decades of advertising to young girls and moms, Barbie’s new focus is on dads. Mattel rolled out this campaign with eight full page ads in People, including two pseudo-covers featuring Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan and actor Jerry O’Connell. (I can’t imagine what that cost!) “The World’s Greatest Dads Tell the Greatest Stories” proclaims their headline, and the ads reference a research study that shows dad’s involvement with his children’s play contributes to their development. Of course it is supplemented with a Barbie.com/dads site, that includes instructions on “how to play Barbie” and a #DadsWhoPlayBarbie hashtag for posting pictures that could win dads $25,000 or a trip to Mattel where their child could become a Barbie Designer for a day. (It never mentions “daughter”)

Think about the lessons you can take from this campaign. Is there a new audience that you could reach with your same product? Can you provide instructions on how to use your product or service in a different way? Do you have something to offer as a grand prize that can’t be obtained in any other way? You may not be able to afford the grand splash that Mattel used, but I’ll bet if you play around with their idea, you can imagine your own new story.




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