Love is in the air for Mattel on this Valentine’s Day! Today marks a big anniversary for the famous couple, Barbie and Ken, as it is not only the seventh anniversary of their tragic break-up, which broke America’s heart on February 14, 2004. It is also the day when the couple announced that they are back together again, and are happier than ever!
So how did Ken woo Barbie back into his life, you might ask? His humble approach was a nationwide social media campaign to prove his true love. What a romantic.
Everything changed for the two iconic dolls when they separated. Barbie started dating Blaine, an Australian surfer who was able to win her over in her time of need. Meanwhile, Ken’s entire social media brand was completely recreated. He became the ultimate bachelor with new profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, all of which directed fans to his new digital reality show, “Genuine Ken – The Search for the Great American Boyfriend” (need I explain?). He even made a buzz when he made a special appearance during Fashion’s Night Out in New York, showing that he was single and ready to mingle.
But as the nation’s eyes were turned in his direction, he couldn’t help but wonder – was Barbie watching?
Around this time, it was leaked on the Barbie and Ken website and on Barbie’s Youtube channel that the two had been matched together on Match.com, an online dating site. If this wasn’t enough to convince Ken to try and win Barbie back, nothing would be.
So the campaign began. It started with a series of pleading Tweets and loving Facebook posts from Ken to Barbie, showing how much he missed having her in his life after their 47 years together.
But still, she resisted, so Ken decided to really get his hands dirty. He created a “Barbie” Cupcake, which was sold exclusively at Magnolia Bakery in Los Angeles and New York City from January 28 to today. He also took over the window displays and created his own line of chocolate for Barbie’s favorite candy shop, Dylan’s Candy Bar.
He declared his love by publishing full-page inserts in US Weekly, Barbie’s favorite magazine, that said, “Barbie, I want you back.” Readers were directed to an online poll, which simply asked, “Should Barbie and Ken get back together?” He also created billboards proclaiming his love in Los Angeles and New York so that Barbie would see him with every turn she made.
His last attempt was made during New York Fashion Week, Barbie’s favorite time of year, when he posted “Barbie, You’re the Only Doll For Me” and a picture of himself with a bouquet of roses on the Jumbotron.
This last attempt, she tweets, is what convinced her to come back to him. She also blogged today that there will be celebratory Valentine’s Day events in both NYC and at The Grove in Los Angeles because “truly, everyone deserves a Ken.”
All plastic and fabricated love aside, this is one of the most brilliant social media campaigns I have ever heard of. The marketers have taken a product that has been around for 50 years and completely rejuvenated it, making it relevant to today’s young generation. Their campaign has panned out perfectly, and they have seamlessly paired online and in-person advertising to generate buzz.
And what more perfect time to end? As Barbie wrote today on her blog,
I’ve consulted my best dolls (you!) and have finally made up my mind… It’s official. After seven years apart, Ken and I have decided to rekindle our romance — after all, we may be plastic but our love is real! Ken is my soulmate – we are looking forward to defining our own happily ever after.
Congratulations to you, Barbie and Ken! May you have long and happy lives together, and may you please do a campaign like this again very soon!
Follow Barbie (and Ken, now that he can resign his bachelor title) @BarbieStyle and at http://alldolldup.typepad.com/.