March 11th, 2009

Companies get all ‘dolled’ up for Barbie’s 50th birthday!

by sage island

Amazing! Barely looking half her age, Barbie just turned 50! Originally marketed as a teenage fashion model in 1959, this popular fashion icon toy has undergone 5 decades of facelifts and wardrobe changes.

Despite a sales slump of 20 percent, Mattel is investing in an extravagant marketing campaign in honor of Barbie’s milestone birthday. They’re hoping the multimedia campaign will increase sales by reaching out to 3 generations of consumers.

Though Barbie’s actual birthday was March 9, Mattel will promote the 50th anniversary campaign throughout the remainder of the year. Not only does Barbie the doll get a makeover with the 2009 Golden Anniversary Barbie, but the official website also has a new look and feel.

By partnering with other companies and brands, Mattel extends marketing beyond the basic media relations and aims to touch everyone from brick and mortar stores to online events and much more! Here’s a small sampling of some of the promotional campaigns seen in honor of our plastic symbol of pop culture:

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

Barbie marketers tag teamed with Mercedes Benz for a Broadway Runway Show produced during the coveted fashion week. With a live broadcast of the show on, viewers witnessed a beautiful runway in which 50 designers showed off Barbie-inspired collections.

Limited Edition Barbie VW Beetle


In celebration of the big 5-0, Volkswagen of America created 13 hot pink Beetle convertibles. The limited edition car is fully equipped with rhinestones, paint that sparkles and a motorized vanity.

Facebook Page

The Barbie Facebook page shares Barbie’s secrets, favorite things, messages and a regularly updated status.

Malibu Dream House


On the eve of Barbie’s birthday celebration, interior decorators spruced up a 3,500-square-foot villa overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After 6 months of planning, this Dream House became a Real House that hosted Monday’s 50th birthday bash. One word to describe the dream house: PINK! Decorators thought of everything when decorating for the 11.5” doll. This fantasy land was complete with wall-to-wall pink carpeting, 50 pairs of pink heeled shoes lining the closet, an original Andy Warhol portrait of Barbie and much more!



Bloomingdale’s in New York is uniting with Mattel to promote the Barbie celebration. This retail partner dolled up the store to feature amazing window décor honoring Barbie, an in-store display of 120 historic Barbie dolls, and a 242-square-foot in-store Barbie boutique that highlights accessories, apparel, and dolls.


Contestants were put to the test on Monday, March 9th as Jeopardy included a whole category dedicated to Barbie. Trivia questions such as Barbie’s history, favorite designer, and favorite shoes were presented on the show.

Barbie Candy Bar

Partnering with Dylan’s Candy Bar, the creation of a sassy and all girl candy line is scheduled to make an appearance in early April. This candy line will include fun chocolate assortments, such as a shoebox of “The Perfect Pair of Chocolate Heels.”

It's more than a message in a bottle.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get all the latest from the island sent right to your inbox