Barbie Maker Mattel Accused Of 'Stealth Marketing' After Giving Away Free Dolls To Schools

Barbie doll manufacturer Mattel Inc. MAT has been accused of stealth marketing in schools, according to an investigative piece in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Fortune reports.

Stealth Marketing Tactics: The company allegedly used its Barbie brand to subtly promote its products to children. The BMJ report suggests that Mattel’s “You Can Be Anything” program, which is presented as an educational initiative, maybe a veiled marketing strategy.

The program involves Barbie-themed events and teaching materials, which critics argue serve to promote the brand.

Concerns Raised: Health experts have raised concerns about the potential impact of such marketing tactics on children’s health and well-being. They argue that the programme can lead to increased gender stereotyping and has a "moral ambiguity".

"The Mattel materials are heavily branded—why should children be exposed to this type of stealth marketing?" asked Mark Pettricrew, public health evaluation professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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Mattel’s Response: In response to the allegations, a Mattel spokesperson has defended its program and sent the publication anonymous testimonials of teachers praising student engagement in the program created and the representation of different body types, skin tones, and disabilities with the dolls.

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Image by Elena Mishlanova on Unsplash


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