Why Does Barbie Blog? – Corporate Weblog Series #1

Ok. So you blog or you don't blog. But this plastic figurine that represents the best and worst of American marketing, Barbie, has been blogging for some time. What? She's not in your blogroll? I mean no holds barred here. This is fictional blogging. Not some bloggers fantasy or twisted reality. Barbie is – well, she's Barbie. And Mattel has her blogging.

Mattel's Barbie Blog is the first example of the Digital Tavern's corporate does blog series. Now I espoused recently that blogging should emit form the inside and any company worth it's brand equity should start blogging from the inside. Yet Mattel (and Barbie is arguably one of the top 100 recognized Brands in the world) is further personifying this pop culture icon with her own blog. And damn, she seems like me these days. Too busy and finding it hard to find the time to blog:

[…] May 20,2003 Appointment Overload

ad a mini meltdown today. Was feeling sooo stressed about my schedule, which has gotten crazy busy lately! Between dance classes, yoga, and tons of social engagements, I just don't get enough time to relax. Hudson came over with some ice cream and a cool head, and he helped rearrange my schedule so I'll have more time to just chill. Whew! […]

You can look at Barbie's blog in a number of ways. First, it's Mattel's on going effort to create a stronger character with human attributes that reinforce Barbie's image as a (ahem) role model for young females. Second, it's further proof that some US corporations recognize the blogging (among other pop culture phenomenon) is mainstream. And that there's nothing like publishing a “live”diary of a fictional character to create stronger relationships. These relationships strengthen the bond between Barbie and her customer and influencer. This mean more sales. And ultimately this can increase the lifetime value of that customer to Barbie and it's parent Mattel. Third, Mattel is laying the groundwork for further expanding its Barbie web franchise. All in the name of creating a truly immersive Barbie experience, Mattel can drive traffic and create incremental revenue streams through a variety of online properties. Or, you can simply tsk tsk Mattel and its effort as another company trying to capitalize on the latest fad — whatever it might be.

But Mattel, in my opinion, has its act together. Not that I'm a believer in the Barbie image nor its role as ubiquitous role model for a large portion of young girls and women in the united states. Part of me resents Barbie. But when my six year old niece wants to me to take her to the beach to fly a kite and gets so damn excited at flying the Barbie kite, what am I to say? “No Emily. You're merely being manipulated into becoming a drone and victim to a lifelong barrage of marketing messages by a successful US corporation”? How do you tell a six year old that there's more to life than Barbie?

Mattel and the people behind Barbie know what they're doing. And as noted before on this blog here and here, Mattel is willing to innovate and take risks. For more than 30 years Barbie has lived on — good or bad. There's not many other “faddish” brands that can claim this success. Embrace weblogs and weblog technology. You may not get on your first round. But try and try again. It's here to stay.

—— added later to point Googlers to other corporate blog posts here

Digital Tavern Corporate Weblog Series: #2 – Are Corporate Weblogs Taking Off | Corporate Blogging Done Right | #3 – Blogging Business. Is It Anyone's Business?