A Look at the Land of Barbie

The Lempert Report
April 17, 2023

On today’s Bullseye – it seems like it’s all about Barbie – and its not just about kids. According to Mattel, the maker of Barbie, 90 percent of American girls ages 3 – 10 own at least one Barbie. Over the years the doll has come under a lot of criticism for being too white, too perfect, unrealistic and has been blamed for trying to train little girls into sex objects. So over the years Mattel has designed and sold all different races and shapes of Barbie.

And now comes Barbie the movie and the CPG world wants a piece of it! Recently I was at a restaurant talking to the waiters – all of whom were between 25 and 35 and all – male and female alike – are anxiously awaiting the movie.  The plot of the movie, starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, focuses on Robbie’s Barbie being expelled from Barbieland for being a less than perfect looking doll and she sets off for the human world to find true happiness. And (spoiler alert) Will Ferrell plays the CEO of Mattel and goes after the duo to bring them back to Barbieland. The movie is packed with many stars and comes at a time where we might just want to go to a movie theater and have some fun and laughs as the movie is predicted to be ‘the’ movie of the summer. From now until the movie’s release date July 21 we can expect to see supermarkets and brands lining up to capitalize on the Barbie mania that is taking place.

On May 3rd, Swoon, a zero sugar beverage brand that was co-founded by friends Cristina Ros Blankfein and Jen Ross started in 2015 to provide healthier alternatives to lemonades and iced teas for a very personal reason – Jen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at an early age will launch its Barbie x Swoon Pink Lemonade – obviously with zero sugar. It’s the first brand tie-in that I’ve heard of so far, but I expect many more to follow. I love that Swoon is donating 10% of net profits from sales to the Barbie Dream Gap Project which provides resources, curriculum, skills development and leadership opportunities to girls between the ages of 5 and 10 across the world.

I can only hope as other brands join the Barbieland craze that they will follow Swoon’s lead and give back to the young girls that make Barbie such a success.