Barbie knows fashion, but does she get PR?
By Donna White on Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Barbie might have turned 54 this year, but she’s still got the looks to turn heads, thanks to department store Selfridges which has invited four designers to give her a makeover to celebrate its new concession in London.
Fred Butler, Nasir Mazhar and Sister by Sibling have designed four dolls – each which will become collectors’ items when sold in store later this year.
It’s a nice approach because although Barbie’s been transformed before – by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin and Chanel – every makeover has a different personality. Although this time the whole campaign doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor.
To add value to the launch, I would’ve liked Selfridges collaborate with Mattel to do the following:
1. Window shopping
I’m sure Selfridges will be using its iconic shop windows to house a creative and colourful display to draw attention to the fact that Barbie’s in town. But the brand could go one step further and commission life-sized Barbie mannequins to sit in the designers’ fashion houses to promote the partnership.
2. Competition time
Barbie’s one of the few brands whose popularity is multi-generational. To capitalise on this, I would’ve launched a competition for the public to design their own outfit for Barbie – even securing the backing of the London College of Fashion to guarantee entries.
The winning outfits could then be sold in store for dolls and fashionistas.
3. Catwalk models
To drum up interest about the new department, Selfridges could also host an in-store VIP party for fashion bloggers, journalists and industry influencers. With models taking to a catwalk wearing the limited edition Barbie collection; experts hosting make-up demonstrations; designers sharing fashion tips; and a special guest from Mattel to share Barbie’s story, there’s lots of content there raise awareness.
Anyone who’s anyone had a Barbie when they were growing up. She’s a global brand and there’s so much scope to establish an integrated marketing, PR and social media campaign to benefit both parties.
With the department here to stay, it doesn’t need to happen at once either – drip feeding the activity would ensure talk-ability about the campaign throughout the year.
Right, that’s Barbie sorted. How can I help you Ken?