Barbie connects with new and old friends for her 50th

Mattel celebrates its iconic doll's 50th anniversary by partnering with fashion and décor companies and targeting women in print and online.

To celebrate 50 years of the iconic Barbie brand, Mattel Canada is partnering for the first time with designer brands in the fashion, jewellery and décor arenas to connect with women who grew up loving the signature doll.

Starting early next year, Mattel will work with leading Canadian companies in the fashion and lifestyle categories to portray the brands’ culturally relevant status through Barbie’s five decades. Reidin Goode, senior marketing manager, girls brands, at Mattel, tells MiC that it’s also a way to connect with an older audience who grew up with Barbie, and increase sales.

Fashion designer David Dixon will debut a Barbie women’s collection at Fashion Week in Toronto, while Town Shoes will design a Barbie shoe collection. A Barbie bath and body product line by Cake will be available exclusively at Sephora, while Foxy Originals will design Barbie-inspired jewelry. And décor expert Glenn Dixon, who appears on the W Network, will produce a Barbie furnishings and linen line.

Rather than TV spots geared to kids, Mattel will advertise Barbie’s anniversary in women’s fashion magazines, and an interactive element has been built into the celebrations. A microsite for dedicated fans serves as an online exhibit featuring retro Barbie images and archived ads. Fans can also share their favourite videos on the site, says Goode. A Barbie Memory Booth will tour major Canadian cities throughout the summer of 2009, giving people another way to share their favourite Barbie memories. Barbie is also playing in the social network scene with MySpace and Facebook pages plus a downloadable Barbie iTunes list.

Carat is handling the media buys.