Barbie through the ages

// 21 August 2007

One of my favourite things to look at on YouTube is old skool advertisements. They provide such a fascinating insight into which products were available, to whom they were marketed, how things were promoted in different decades and what techniques advertising executives used at different periods in television history to persuade consumers that their life would be incomplete without the latest product.

Here is a brief history of Barbie’s presence on kids’ TV:

First ever Barbie commercial – 1959


Barbie Meets Ken – 1961

Color N Curl Barbie – 1965

Superstar Barbie – 1976

Whatever that girl’s on, I want some.

Super Hair Barbie – 1980s

Great Shape Barbie – 1983

This is absolutely revolting. You’re looking good, Barbie!

Olympic Skater Barbie

The first advert I’ve come across for a Barbie who does anything not directly related to improving her appearance.

Dance Club Barbie

Glitte Hair Barbie – 1994

Teacher Barbie – 1995

A Barbie that does something non-gender specific. Hooray!

Splash & Color Barbie – 1996

Olympic Gymnast Barbie – 1996

1996 was the year that the US gymnastics team won the Atlanta Olympics. Here, Barbie embodies the American Dream…

Barbie Hair Highlights – 2006

Top Model Barbie – 2007

And finally, the whole Barbie theme is subverted in this 90s advertisement for Cool Shaving Ken. Look how ridiculous it seems when Ken is subjected to his own beauty regime:

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