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Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Apr 24th, 2021

Mattel is the biggest toy company which produces the most popular toy in the world called Barbie. This doll has become an American icon. For many years, it was the favorite toy of all American girls, “mothers who played with the original dolls bought them for their daughters and granddaughters and Barbie became an American icon” (Hill and Jones 208). This doll has a history and biography it has its world which was created and promoted using advertising. The doll’s appearance provided the idea of how a real woman should look like. It was an ideal of American beauty and embodiment of the advancement of women. The most famous Barbie’s phrase and the motto of the ad was and are “we girls can do anything”. However, there are three key pieces of evidence that Mattel’s view of their Barbie product is based upon corporate profit not the advancement of women. The advertisement of the year 2011 Barbie and Ken are Together Again! supports this argument.

So, let us discuss the three key pieces of evidence that Mattel’s view of their Barbie product is based upon corporate profit. Thus, first of all, it should be mentioned that the appearance of the doll did not change for a long time as there were not the necessity in it, “Mattel’s managers continued to bet on Barbie’s eternal appeal and collectively bought into an “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach” (Hill and Jones 208). However, when a new generation of dolls called Bratz appeared, “they quickly became a serious competitor to Barbie” (Hill and Jones 208). Mattel decided to change the appeal of the doll. They changed the doll’s iconic appeal, moreover, in 2004 they changed Ken for another toy-boyfriend. In 2001, Mattel decided to return Ken and made this a series of ads.

The ad describes how Ken found Barbie on the Internet and won her heart again. The ad claims that Ken and Barbie are “one of the world’s most iconic couples” which implies the message that aims at persuading the audience that “your Barbie doll cannot live without her boyfriend and only he is a perfect match for her”. Thus, the purpose of the ad is to influence purchase intent. Furthermore, the target market of the commercial is a girl who leads an active and exciting life, but “as much as she loves the carefree life of a single girl, it’s always nice to share memories with someone special” (“Barbie and Ken are Together Again!”). Thus, it is another commercial strategy to convince the audience of the “necessity” to buy the doll of Ken. Finally, the ad makes use of such rhetoric techniques as emotional-laden words, description (a real Malibu girl who’s got an outfit for every occasion and an attitude to match), repetitions (someone special, “Barbie, I want you back!, etc.), comparisons and questions (Why can’t all men be like Ken?) to attract the attention of the audience. In addition, the ad promotes new Barbie Style (full pink gear) which is also a new product and “all owners of the Barbie dolls should have it.

Thus, we can conclude that the ad is not focused on the promotion of the advancement of women, but makes use of commercial techniques and different means of persuasion to convince the target audience to buy new Barbie dolls and new Ken doll. The three pieces of evidence to this are the mottoes used in the ad, descriptions of the dolls, and rhetoric means used to persuade people to buy Barbie dolls.

Works Cited

“Barbie and Ken are Together Again!” Barbie Collectors. 2011. Web.

Hill, Charles and Gareth Jones. “Warfare in Toyland” in Strategic Management Theory: An Integrated Approach. Mason: Cengage Learning, 2009. 207-208. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2021, April 24). Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/barbie-product-advertisement-rhetorical-analysis/

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"Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis." IvyPanda, 24 Apr. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/barbie-product-advertisement-rhetorical-analysis/.

1. IvyPanda. "Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis." April 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/barbie-product-advertisement-rhetorical-analysis/.


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IvyPanda. "Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis." April 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/barbie-product-advertisement-rhetorical-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis." April 24, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/barbie-product-advertisement-rhetorical-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Barbie Product Advertisement: Rhetorical Analysis'. 24 April.

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