Short List
Product / ServiceBARBIE
CategoryB03. Use of Print / Outdoor
EntrantUM Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Idea Creation UM Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Media Placement UM Melbourne, AUSTRALIA


Name Company Position
Rachel Teh UM Strategist
Adam Russell UM Client Advice
Monique Chirgwin UM Integrated Planning
Charli Hoffman UM Creative Studios

Why is this work relevant for Media?

Barbie is a fashion and style icon. But the downside of being fashionable is that people can think you’re a bit shallow. We needed to combat this potent barrier to purchase. To do this we repositioned Barbie’s fashion and style as a vehicle children’s self-expression by giving them the opportunity to dress the world’s most iconic doll brand. Through a partnership with iconic magazine brand Marie Claire, we did exactly this and grew sales 41% year on year.


Barbie didn’t become one of the world’s most iconic toys by staying still. After 6 years of consecutive growth, we needed to accelerate further in 2021. • Increase market share from 23% to 24% YOY. • Increase sales from +30% to +38% YOY. • Make Barbie the #1 doll for parents to gift. CHALLENGE Barbie is a global fashion and style icon. She is progressive – showcasing 35+ skin tones, 94 hair styles and 9 different body types – including differently abled dolls, making Barbie the most diverse doll range on the market. Despite this, being underpinned by fashion and style, Barbie can be seen as shallow and superficial. We wanted a local campaign that removed this barrier to purchase. COMMUNICATIONS TASK To increase market share, we needed to demonstrate the deeper meaning of fashion and style in an authentic way.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

INSIGHT: THE DEEPER MEANING OF STYLE From an early age, children are heavily influenced by their parents, society, and the world around them. Toys play a crucial part in building their identity – observing, absorbing and mimicking social norms and gender roles. As they get older, they begin to play with these roles and experiment with personal boundaries. Mixing and matching different elements to create something of their own. Clothing helps kids to self-express and test these boundaries. You can see this when a three-year-old dresses up in Mum’s dress, with dad’s boots and the hat they made at kindergarten. The outfits are mismatched, but this is a vital step in discovering and building their own identity by forging their own unique style. A fact modern parenting recognises and strongly encourages. OPPORTUNITY To link the Barbie with this deeper meaning of style and fashion.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Barbie is the original influencer. Barbie’s You Can be Anything brand philosophy has inspired generations of girls in what to wear, how to behave, and who they could be – though her 200+ careers and iconic style. For this campaign, we flipped Barbie’s dynamic. Instead of Barbie influencing kid’s style, Australian kids would influence Barbie’s. To challenge perceptions that style was shallow and superficial, we would make Barbie a canvas for children to express their own unique style and identity. By putting the power in the hands of kids, we gave our audience the opportunity to design and influence Barbie. IDEA: BE YOUR OWN STYLE ICON. A crowdsourcing initiative recruiting the next generation of aspiring young designers. Our campaign enlisted kids to design outfits for Barbie, Ken and non-binary Barbie. The competition empowered kids to express their style and influence the world’s most iconic doll brand.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

To bring this to life we needed a credible platform to help reach parents and children. PARTNERING WITH ARE MEDIA We partnered with Marie Claire and their parent network Are Media – a publishing juggernaut reaching over a third of Australian women every month. INVITING KIDS TO CREATE. We invited every child under the age of 12 to submit their designs to dress the world’s most iconic doll. The competition launched in Marie Claire, amplified across the broader Are Media’s ecosystem attracting over 400 entries. THE FINAL REVEAL. Once entries closed and Maddison Condick (aged 10) was crowned the winner. But our campaign wasn’t over. In a global first we created Mini Claire (Mini Claire) a magazine for young girls, distributed inside Marie Claire. It featured the winning design on the front cover, editorial on the creative process, activities, and a collectable poster to celebrate the end of competition.

List the results (30% of vote)

The campaign was a runway success reaching over 41% of all mothers with children in Australia. This success was mirrored in the business results. We repositioned Barbie’s fashion and style as a vehicle for children’s self-expression. Through our key Are Media, we reached parents and children alike, added substance to style, and removed a key barrier to purchase. Barbie is now the #1 Doll brand for parents to give as a gift. • Unit sales increased +41% YOY in February/March 2021 compared to Feb/March 2020 +30%. Smashing our target by +3%. • Market share in the Dolls category increased from 23% in 2020 to 24.9% in 2021. An increase of +1.9% YOY across Jan-June. • Girls 3-7 in Australia received an average of 2.5 new Barbie products in 2021 alone. • Barbie Fashion and Beauty Toy Segment was +54% in units Feb/Mar 2021 (vs 2020 Same Time Last Year).