Mattel is changing their brand image in revolutionary ways.


Multinational toy manufacturer and entertainment company Mattel has had a surge of popularity recently. Most known for creating Barbie dolls, the brand’s recent dive into the film industry caused shockwaves online.

The recent Barbie movie release was the first venture into cinema for Mattel Films – the film production division of Mattel – since 2016. Interestingly, this was also the first movie from Mattel Films to receive a PG-13 rating. And maybe this audience shift was part of its success.

Historically, Mattel’s target audience have been children. Yet, proving that they aren’t scared to reinvent their brand image, the Barbie movie was actually designed to target ex-children: adults.

The brand also took a noteworthy approach with their film: they made jokes at their own expense. While this isn’t a new tactic, it’s worked well for Mattel. Jesting about their own previous shortcomings when it comes to gender issues in the workplace, they used the film to prove their growth.

And people loved it. During the week following the film’s release, almost half of emotion-categorized mentions about the film expressed joy. Social mentions for Mattel hit a peak in August, just a few weeks after the film’s release. 

Online mentions about Mattel

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Chart shows volume of online mentions about Mattel.

Data gathered from all platforms monitored by Brandwatch Consumer Research between Jan 1 2022 and Sept 30 2023.

By acknowledging weaknesses or criticisms of their brand, Mattel is working towards dispelling them. Their genius marketing and clever film narrative have revitalized excitement about the brand and what they’ll do next. That’s why they’re a Brandwatch Change Maker for 2023.

How you can spark change

Don’t be scared to change your marketing tactics – and not just artistically. Altering your tone of voice can make dramatic changes to your audience’s perception. Whether that’s how you talk to your customers or how you present yourself online, get focused on who your target demographic is – and how they might have changed since their first purchase. 

Want to find out more about Brandwatch?

View our previous list of Change Makers (H1 2023)

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