Changing perceptions of Barbie? It's Doll's Play...


Client: Mattel/Barbie

Did you know that playing with Barbie dolls can help children build social skills and empathy? *

Barbie and neuroscientists from Cardiff University published research that proved - for the first time - the scientific benefits of doll play in helping kids develop their social skills. Empathy is important in helping people understand others points of view, making for better collaborators, leaders, and also in building resilience, 91%** of parents rank empathy as a key skill they’d like their kids to develop, but only a quarter believed doll play could help their kids build empathy. As the worlds #1 doll, millions of parents have enjoyed watching their children play with Barbie, but until now, this playtime has not been perceived as playing an important role in children’s development, unlike problem solving or building toys and games. Barbie has been evolving over the past decade with product, content and marketing communications to be more inspirational and diverse and these scientific findings are another step for the brand demonstrating that Barbie dolls can empower children to develop key skills alongside the wonder of imagination through play. The findings of this study by Cardiff University, armed parents with tools and resources to help promote and recognise the benefits of solo doll play, coming during a pandemic as children’s opportunities to socialise were drastically limited. Through a content partnership with Verizon, we were able to solidify Barbie’s category leadership position by raising awareness of this research and changing how the world sees doll play.