Mattel's Newly Launched Entrepreneur Barbie Joins LinkedIn
Is this what an entrepreneur looks like?
Her full name is Barbie Millicent Roberts but on her brand new LinkedIn profile, she's going by "Barbie." Apparently the 55-year-old plastic-fantastic legend, the veteran of more than 150 careers, hasn't read the recent study that shows LinkedIn users appear brainier if they add a middle initial to their name. Barbie M. Roberts might have erased that "Math class is tough" blooper she made back in 1992.
If you somehow missed the headline and the splashy pink-powered photos of Barbie's newest incarnation, here's what Mattel had to say about the recent launch of its 2014 Career of the Year Doll.
"Entering the entrepreneurial world, this independent professional is ready for the next big pitch," said Mattel in its description for its latest brand extension. "Barbie Entrepreneur doll wears a sophisticated dress in signature pink that features modern color blocking and a sleek silhouette. Her 'smartphone,' tablet and briefcase are always by her side. And luxe details, like a glam necklace, cool clutch and elegant hairstyle, are awesome extras for a smart, stylish career woman."
Barbie's new business is "Dream Incubator" where she acts as a consultant, "helping girls around the world play out their imagination, try on different careers, and explore the world around them. Our company tagline is "If you Can Dream It, You Can Be it!" There's a hashtag, too: #unapologetic
Dispensing business inspiration
Barbie's new LinkedIn profile, where she joins 300 million of the world's business influencers, encourages users to follow the new Entrepreneur Barbie for business inspiration.
The former astronaut-fashion designer-rapper says on her profile: "I got my big break in 1959 to inspire girls to dream big. Since then I've had 150+ careers, but my true calling remains – encourage generations of girls to place no limitations on their ambitions."
To bolster this trendworthy point of view, Barbie's brought in a girl-power posse of "Chief Inspiration Officers" to share tips from their own startup experiences. It's an impressive group, which includes Girls Who Code's Reshma Saujani, Jenny Fleiss from RenttheRunway, Alison Pincus of One Kings Lane and more.
Not everybody is eager to send the new Barbie a LinkedIn invitation. Meryl Holland, the former Senior VP Worldwide Barbie Consumer Products, raised questions about the new brand extension in an interview with AOL Jobs. At Mattel, the play value pro was responsible for developing and creating the first ever girls' lifestyle licensing brand--Barbie for Girls Lifestyle--which set the foundation for what has become an over $2 billion+ business today.
"First of all, what does an entrepreneur look like? Assuming of course, that the target audience can get past knowing what an 'entrepreneur' is, I think the execution is off. How on earth are little girls going to identify with that pink sheath from the 50's and that hair? No entrepreneur I know is so severe or prim looking. Perhaps a great pant suit could have worked best with a great Hermes scarf around her neck and shoulders! That is if you can really pin down the identity to begin with."
As for the signature pink, she says: "I get Barbie Pink. I created a Pantone Pink for her when I was there. But I don't get it. Doesn't every business person use these tools she has? Smart phone, iPad?"
In an interview with AOL Jobs, noted toy consultant and speech pathologist, Sherry Younger Artemenko, who is the CEO and Founder of playonwords.com cautioned: "Let's not get distracted by Barbie Entrepreneur's preference for pink and spike heels. She's used her smarts to be a CEO of her own company and now little girls can 'play' out their creative life stories with Barbie in hand. I'm excited that girls are adding 'entrepreneur' to their vocabulary, shaping their play and sparking interest in starting their own business some day."