The Real Life Barbie
Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara at play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. Sparked by this, Ruth wanted to create a doll that would show little girls they could be anything they wanted to be and that a ‘woman has choices’.
On a trip to Europe in 1956, Ruth saw a doll that looked like an adult woman, vastly different from the baby dolls most little girls owned, including Barbara. Ruth was inspired. Three years later, on March 9, 1959, at the American International Toy Fair, Mattel's version, Barbie Millicent Roberts, was born. Barbie quickly became a global icon and consistently remains among the most recognizable personas in the world.
This is an exclusive interview recorded for the BCMA panel Back to the Future of Branded Content With Mattel at Lions Entertainment
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