2014 Platinum PR Awards: Branding

Winner: Weber Shandwick on behalf of Mattel - Barbie #Unapologetic

For 55 years, Barbie has been the doll that lets girls imagine themselves as everything from pop star to president. Yet critics have overpowered her message, saying she’s too perfect. A detriment to body image. Increasingly irrelevant. Weber Shandwick and Mattel set out to prove them wrong and spark a discussion about women and beauty that would be disruptive, opinionated and empowering—and get people to rethink Barbie.

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is the epicenter of heated discussion on women and body image; thus, it was a perfect spot to bring the campaign. The issue’s reach is second only to the Super Bowl, and readership by women surprisingly surpasses Cosmopolitan, Vogue and Glamour. And the campaign launched during NY Toy Fair, the ideal time to remind the industry of Barbie’s power. Cadence was everything. The team knew that "Barbie in the Swimsuit Issue" without context would draw fire, so they led with a bold #Unapologetic social campaign and magazine cover image to set the tone.

The campaign placed Barbie within editorial and ads celebrating the accomplishments of legendary models, who—like Barbie— were introduced to the world in a swimsuit, and went on to have accomplished and multifaceted careers.

An in-depth article in The New York Times reminded us who Barbie is, and a full-page manifesto (also in The New York Times) crystallized her point-of-view. Ultimately, the brand sparked balanced, spirited debate—including more than 2,000 unique stories in business, trade and lifestyle media. Impressions topped 3.5 billion.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Cohn & Wolfe – Hennessy: Never stop. Never settle.
  • Hunter Public Relations - A Case of ALLERGY FACE: ZYRTEC Helps Beauty Bloom for Allergy Sufferers
  • MMK - P&G Thank You Mom Campaign
  • MSLGROUP - Ken Delmar: Paper Towel Picasso
  • Paragraphs LLC - Quantum Rebrand and Repositioning Campaign
  • PPR Worldwide - Dell Taps Serial Entrepreneur to Bridge the Outside In