Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Looking Back by Shilpi Bose

Barbie -- Receptionist to Katrina Kaif
From an ordinary receptionist to film star Katrina Kaif, Barbie doll in India has come a long way. Receptionist to film star? That calls for some explanation. Way back in 1987 Leo Toys tied up with Mattel Inc. As result of this tie-up the company Leo Mattel introduced several popular international brands in India—the Barbie doll was one of them.

Barbie doll's first ever commercial

While Barbie doll was launched way back in 1959 in U.S.A., for Indian children of the early nineties Barbie was a fairly unknown brand. The company and its agency Advertising Avenues set about introducing the brand in India. After the usual set of ads the agency hit upon the idea of featuring a live Barbie along with the doll in a television commercial. The Creative Director, Advertising Avenues told me that after a fruitless search for a tall, slim girl their eyes fell on their receptionist who happened to be tall – if memory serves me right I think she was 5 ft 10 inches --- and slim. She perfectly fit the role of Barbie. She was dressed up in a dress similar to the one worn by Barbie and she effortlessly slipped in to the role of Barbie. I wish the commercial was on YouTube it would be interesting to watch it after all these years.
Barbie doll and I at the prize distribution ceremony
 To further create interest the agency and the company decided to hold drawing competitions for school girls and guess who gave away the prize, it was Barbie of course. This time it was an aspiring model and the excitement of the school girls at seeing her was to be seen to be believed.

Now it is none other than Katrina Kaif donning the role of Barbie, indeed Barbie has come a long way in India.

1 comment:

  1. How lovely to see you Shilpi! Interesting post - I think I had my first Barbie when I was about 8. I was really into Barbies and went onto collect quite a few ( I have 20 in total including some special edition ones!)

    However, I just dont like Katrina Kaif for Barbie :-(