Barbie’s New Friend: Y&R

Longtime Mattel roster shop Young & Rubicam has moved into Barbie’s neighborhood, landing ad duties for Generation Girl, a new line of dolls who are “friends” of Barbie, sources said.
The $30-35 million creative assignment is the first time Y&R, which handles Mattel’s Fisher-Price and Sesame Street brands, has worked on the Barbie business.
The move is a sea change in the way Mattel views its agency roster. Traditionally, the client has kept its assignments rigid. Ogilvy & Mather in Los Angeles has handled Barbie for more than two decades. It jointly developed the current “Be anything” campaign with sister WPP agency Cole & Weber in Seattle.
But the client is now soliciting ideas from all roster shops on Barbie and her playmates. As such, Y&R will also launch Kelly, a doll for preschoolers described as Barbie’s little sister, said Lisa McKendall, Mattel’s director of marketing and communications.
For Generation Girl, Ogilvy created an initial set of TV spots breaking this month, but sources said those spots, which employ an “R U a Generation Girl?” tagline, will be replaced by ads from Y&R in July. A description of the work was not available.
Y&R referred calls to Mattel; Ogilvy declined comment.
Generation Girl is for girls ages 8 to 12. The six dolls are described as hip, high schoolers from around the world – Chelsie, for example has a pierced nose.
Separately, Mattel is conducting a review for its $250 million media business, now split between Ogilvy, Foote, Cone & Belding and The Media Edge. The El Segundo, Calif., client is “close” to a decision, said McKendall, and is also considering non-roster shops. ¡