“The empowerment movement and consumer expectation around it will only increase”, says Mattel

Mattel has underlined its commitment to being ‘a more purpose driven’ toy company and brand through the continued roll-out of toys and dolls that reinforce positive messages of empowerment among children. The global toy maker has solidified its position amid insight that indicates empowerment has become a growing trend among children themselves.

Mattel’s Barbie Empowerment initiative was the recent recipient of a Gold award by Toy Industries of Europe’s inaugural Play for Change awards, applauding the company for a campaign that covers both its fashionistas line, the role model line and Mattel’s ongoing Dream Gap campaign.

Recent years have seen the Barbie brand take strides in bringing diversity to the mainstream toy aisles and embrace conversations around inclusivity, as well as honouring culturally and historically significant figures through new launches. This year, Barbie has highlighted the achievements of sportswomen, including the fastest woman in British history, Dina Asher-Smith.

“As a brand, we are committed to shining a light on empowering role models using our platforms, to inspire more girls and continue the discussion on breaking gender barriers for girls,” Kelly Philp, director of marketing UK, Mattel, told ToyNews.

“I think this movement and consumer expectation will only increase in this area, a lot of insights point to this ever-growing trend and high awareness among children themselves. As a company and a brand, we are committed to be more purpose driven in our toys and actions.”

The Barbie brand recently partnered with Cardiff University for a study into the developmental benefits of doll play among children. The study highlighted that playing with dolls activates regions in children’s brains that develops empathy and social information processing skills. The research was the first neuro-scientific study of its kind, and indicated that playing with dolls can help prepare kids for their futures by nurturing social information processing skills.

“The study showed that by encouraging doll play, children are able develop the social and emotional skills needed to navigate an ever-changing world with confidence and compassion and be strong advocates for change,” continued Philp. “As category leaders, Mattel and Barbie have an important role and commitment to play in children’s lives.

“We are continuing to evolve Barbie to be a more relevant, modern reflection of the world for today’s kids and their families. Today we are proud to be the most diverse doll line on the market, with a proven track record of creating toys that celebrate the world kids see around them.” 

Acknowledging the ‘privileged position’ that Mattel and the entire toy industry finds itself in in terms of the very real impact it can have on a child’s life, the company has said that efforts to empower children through play will only continue with more determination from here.

“I think this movement and consumer expectation will only increase in this area, a lot of insights point to this ever-growing trend and high awareness among children themselves,” said Philp. “Barbie is committed to driving powerful conversations and to continuing the journey to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in the toy aisle.”

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