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Social Media Driven Hope Barbie Campaign

Outline
Messages circulating via social media websites suggest that toymaker Mattel create a "Hope Barbie" with no hair so that every little girl that is fighting cancer feels beautiful.



Brief Analysis
The messages are derived from a loosely organised campaign that began gaining momentum on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites in 2011. The campaign called for Mattel to mass produce a bald Hope Barbie for cancer suffering children and donate the proceeds of doll sales to cancer research. In response to the campaign, Mattel has now announced plans for the 2013 release of a doll that can have its hair interchanged or completely removed to render it bald. The special dolls will be donated and distributed exclusively via hospitals and will not be sold in retail stores.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.





Last updated: 3rd April 2012
First published: 9th January 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
They should make a Barbie with no hair, so that every little girl that is fighting cancer feels beautiful! Put her in pink with a head scarf and name her HOPE. Give the proceeds from the sales to cancer research. Post this if you agree, i bet 99% of you won't xx

Hope Barbie Post




Detailed Analysis
During 2011 and early 2012, a call for toymaker Mattel to create a hairless "Hope Barbie" to support young female cancer sufferers apparently captured the imagination of many social network users. A quite passionate campaign - albeit one admittedly made up of many different and seemingly unconnected groups and individuals - rapidly gained momentum via Facebook, Twitter and various other social media sites, blogs and forums. The campaign even captured the attention of the mainstream media with several high-profile news outlets reporting on the issue.

A number of messages similar to the example included above also began circulating. The idea spawned numerous Facebook Groups and Pages.

At the same time, an image supposedly depicting a packaged and hairless "Hope Barbie" was also currently circulating. The picture suggested that Hope Barbie line was already being mass produced and sold by the company but this claim was unfounded.

However, apparently in response to the ongoing campaign, Mattel announced plans in March 2012 to produce a doll that could have its hair completely removed if desired. Mattel posted the following information on its Facebook Page on March 28th, 2012:
Play is vital for children, especially during difficult times. We are pleased to share with our community that next year we will be producing a fashion doll, that will be a friend of Barbie, which will include wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience. For those girls who choose, the wigs and head coverings can be interchanged or completely removed. We will work with our longstanding partner, the Children’s Hospital Association, to donate and distribute the dolls exclusively to children’s hospitals directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss. A limited number of dolls and monetary donations will also be made to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Through a thoughtful approach, we made the decision not to sell these dolls at retail stores, but rather get the dolls directly into the hands of children who can most benefit from the unique play experience, demonstrating Mattel’s ongoing commitment to encourage play as a respite for children in the hospital and to bring joy to children who need it most. We appreciate the conversation around this issue, and are interested to hear what you think!
Back in 2011, Mattel did produce a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie especially for 4 year old cancer sufferer Genesis Reyes. And, several years earlier, the company created Pink Ribbon Barbie for a fund-raising campaign in which $2.50 per doll sold was donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Bookmark and Share References
Mattel under pressure to make bald Barbie
Hope Barbie Group
Hope Barbie Page
Hope Barbie Picture
Bald Barbie Campaign Convinces Mattel To Produce New Doll
Mattel Facebook Page
4-Year-Old Battling Cancer Receives One-Of-A-Kind Barbie
Barbie Collector Pink Ribbon Barbie Doll


Last updated: 3rd April 2012
First published: 9th January 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer