CANNES: Giving Barbie a video blog on YouTube has paid major dividends for Mattel, the iconic doll’s parent company, in terms of both consumer connectivity and sales growth.

Launched in mid-2015, this “vlog” features a computer-generated-imagery (CGI) version of Barbie and currently possesses over two million subscribers.

It also now boasts more than 40 episodes, each running for between two to four minutes, and discussing subjects like what to do if you’re “feeling blue” to the dangers of “roasting humor”.

And Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Mattel’s Chief Content Officer, told delegates at the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that this platform represented a first step in consistently building out Barbie’s personality with content.

“The number-one thing we were hearing is that girls want to talk to Barbie,” she said. (For more details, read WARC’s exclusive report: Mattel’s Barbie brand goes Hollywood.)

“The vlog was really the first place where Barbie Roberts was talking directly to girls. And she is an inspiration; she's a free thinker; she's an amazing friend to girls all over the world.”

As well as speaking about pertinent topics for its target audience, the Barbie vlog replies to many of the comments they leave in response to her videos.

“We expect to be able to play with dolls that look like us, or look like our best friends. We expect to be able to talk directly to our doll,” Balsam-Schwaber said.

This material has been effective in drawing viewers organically, but Mattel has also employed paid media in attracting an even larger audience. And the success of such endeavours has been proven out with marketing mix-modeling.

“What we're doing – in terms of our content and our programming on this platform – is actually having a correlation to drive sales and uplift for the brand, which is a significant learning for us as a company,” said Cheryl Gresham, VP/Global Media & Marketing Integration at Mattel.

“And it’s something that helps us as marketers, quite frankly, justify the spend and the effort that is put behind content like this.”

Data sourced from WARC