Ad of the Day: Barbie

Mattel opens the giant pink doors of its signature doll's dream closet in a new global brand campaign

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

What happens when you play with Barbie?

Option one: You get strange looks from the other people on the subway. Option two: Your child is mildly entertained for approximately 7-10 minutes. Option three: You are suddenly whisked away to a magical world where everything is pink and shiny and full of exciting adventures just waiting to be had!

According to the most literal interpretation of Mattel's latest ad campaign, "See What Happens When You Play with Barbie," it's that third possibility—the appearance of the "Barbie Dream Closet," to be exact—that materializes when you spend quality time with the world's most famous anatomical impossibility. OK, so maybe we're not supposed to assume that playing with Barbie will actually send us to a girlish fantasyland. But frankly, I have no doubt that my 5-year-old self would have been inclined to believe that by forcing my parents to buy me that doll, my closet would have indeed opened a portal into an alternate universe. And I would have been disappointed. Cue the tantrum. (For Fashion Week this week, Mattel has actually built "a larger-than-life installation of Barbie's ultimate Dream Closet, complete with 24-foot tall, jewel encrusted doors leading into a two-story, 9,000 square-foot set with multiple dressing vignettes." So, I guess you could take your kid there.)

Personal frustrations aside, these 30 seconds of bedazzled bliss—from Minneapolis agency Peterson Milla Hooks—do an excellent job of awakening the girly-girl within. That's not too surprising, considering the spot's director is Floria Sigismondi, the force behind videos for life-sized dolls like Katy Perry. Other than encouraging young girls to demand trips to Toys R Us, the spot also promotes a new Barbie website,, a "virtual dream closet" of sorts where you can purchase a full line of human-sized Barbie apparel.

No word yet on whether those will be available in adult sizes as well, though I've heard the Barbie cropped denim jacket is already the must-have item of 2012.


Client: Mattel

Brand: Barbie

Agency: Peterson Milla Hooks, Minneapolis

Director: Floria Sigismondi

Photographer: Franck Malthiery

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
Publish date: February 9, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT