Posted by: hannakd | May 9, 2011

Barbie and Ken do Social Media

Every little girl has numerous memories about playing with their Barbie and Ken dolls. I came across an article on Mashable that details the way that Attention, Mattel and Ketchum Public Relations utilized popular forms of social media to reunite the historic couple in 2011. The campaign that they came up with was engaging, fun, and very playful. They created separate Facebook accounts for Barbie and Ken, created a profile for Ken, while also utilizing Twitter and Foursquare to promote the Barbie and Ken brand.  Although there were some print pieces, most of the campaign and outreach was done online. Normally when I think of social media and the online community I think of people 14 and older, but as our world continues to add platforms in which the masses receive their news, ads, etc., Facebook and Twitter are beginning to define generations.

As, one of the oldest toys, Barbie has changed with the times, which is demonstrated superbly with the newest campaign.  By incorporating the way in which Ken wins Barbie back, the campaign seems to really have focused on involving the brands key publics. Being able to be apart of the way the notorious couple reunited created a community that really got to identify with the brand again. The overall campaign is a great demonstration of how to utilize social media platforms in a way that appeals not only to the children that play with the toys, but also the people that are buying them. Even though I am not the six-year-old Barbie fanatic I once was, the campaign definitely brought back nostalgic feelings. The campaign helped to reiterate the prominence and playfulness of the Barbie franchise in a current and appealing fashion.


  1. This is a very interesting spin on how to use social media as a campaign. I am still unsure on whether I believe in inanimate objects having a Facebook page, but none the less very interesting. Does it address the issue on why they “broke up”? Also, how did people help with this campaign? Was it “likes” of wall posts Ken put on Barbie’s wall or comments? The great thing about utilizing social media for brand awareness and advertising is the instant feedback you can get from your audience. Do you know if any Barbie/Ken sales increased? All in all, this campaign sounds like one we should learn from and who knows, maybe future PR students will be studying it in class.

  2. I love that you wrote a post about this! The company that I’m interning at this summer, (No Subject), covered this same campaign and I immediately thought back to that upon reading your commentary. Mattel’s team also set up billboards across LA complete with a desperate Ken begging for Barbie to come back with him. Who knew that Barbie’s publicist announced the split in 2004 at the International Toy Fair?

    I think that we’ve reached the point with social media where older, more established brands are forced to revamp their image. Barbie and Ken had a relationship that lasted for 43 years! The entire brand took a risky move and launched this campaign, ultimately shedding a light on consumer’s use of social media and the transformation into two-way communication between organizations and publics.

    Here is a link to the blog post that I referred to above:

    The story (

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