Even the biggest brands can mess things up sometimes. Recently, the toy company Mattel launched a new Barbie collection to commemorate the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which seemed like a great idea originally. However, people weren’t thrilled about the collection, and it ended up being a failure.
The Barbie dolls are a multimillionaire company that has had millions of clients every year since many decades ago. Children all over the world love these dolls, and they love to see a toy that would look similar to them. Mattel has tried to listen to these children and has created a variety of Barbies that look like most people.
Their attempts for diversity hadn’t been the best, and they have been criticized and got into trouble many times in the past, due to some offensive representations. Still, the case with the Tokyo Olympics was a little bit different.
Mattel collaborated with the International Olympic Committee to create the perfect line that was set to be released in February of 2020. Of course, this was a promising collection that people from all parts of the world couldn’t wait to get.
This collection included a few kinds of Barbie dolls that represented five different cultures from around the world. At the same time, each Barbie was made in order to embody the new sports that were added to this year’s Olympics: karate, surfing, sport climbing, and baseball.
Usually, these types of collections are praised, and a great income for the company. But, even though the event was celebrated in Japan, funnily enough, there was a huge lack of Asian representation in the collection. This absence was immediately noticed by many once the company posted pictures of the collection.
People in social media were highly disappointed in Mattel and their new set of Barbie dolls, which had created a lot of expectations from the public before when it was first announced. Everyone started to question if this was an honest mistake and that they really did forget to include an Asian Barbie.
Maybe it was all a good idea badly executed. Mattel stated that they attempted to honor the new sports, along with inspiring women from the new generations trying to celebrate the Olympic spirit and traditions.
After the enormous amount of criticism on Twitter and Instagram, Mattel decided to apologize and released a new doll that was sold out a few hours after it was launched.
The new Barbie Role Model doll was the way that the company redeemed itself since it was based on Naomi Osaka, a Japanese tennis player who is currently number one at the Women’s Tennis Association. People appreciated being heard and loved the new doll.