Big Barbie

Mattel launches Entrepreneur Barbie with big PR push

Awarding three kids $2,500 to fund their entrepreneurial ideas

To launch the new Entrepreneur Barbie, Mattel Canada is putting its money where its mouth is.

The company created a Barbie Business Bursary program that will award $2,500 each to three promising entrepreneurs under 18. “We’re telling girls to dream big, but we also wanted to show them that dreams can become a reality,” said Alicia Sumar, brand manager, Barbie – Mattel Canada. “[With the bursary], we are going to help young entrepreneurs make their dreams come true.”

On July 9, Mattel held a media launch in Toronto followed by another event for mom bloggers who were invited to bring their daughters to play. “That’s such an important aspect of the brand: when moms see their daughters play, they see how big their daughters’ imaginations and dreams really are,” said Sumar.

Also on the PR front, Mattel enlisted Montreal-based Erica Diamond to be Barbie Canada’s “chief inspiration officer.” Diamond, who took part in the launch events, is an entrepreneur and founder and editor-of-chief of, a blog that aims to inspire women to chase their dreams. “She’s built her entrepreneurial dreams by helping other women start their careers and that resonated with us as a team,” said Sumar.

Diamond will be on the jury panel for the bursary program, along with Sumar and Shelby Walsh, president of Trend Hunter.

Canadians can nominate themselves or someone they know at They have to answer two questions about their entrepreneurial dreams and how Barbie helps in developing their imagination. A jury will select 10 nominees and ask them to send a video profile, which will be posted on the website. The jury will then select three winners.

The bursary program is being promoted on various Corus-owned websites, including YTV, Nick Jr., Teletoon, as well as iVillage and OWN. Strategic Objectives is handling PR, while Carat managed the media buy, and TrojanOne worked on the contest development and digital campaign.

In terms of the inspiration for the new career doll, Sumar said entrepreneurship among women is on the rise, but it’s still an area that is challenging for women to get into.

“We wanted to go that route of the entrepreneur and showcase that anything is possible,” said Sumar. “And we loved it that much more because it was so open-ended and would allow girls to still dream of being quite anything, but with an entrepreneurial spirit, you can make a business out of it.

“Secondarily to seeing all of these beautiful comes true, we hope that girls will go out and buy the doll and hopefully they can [engage in] different role play as an entrepreneur.”

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