New Barbie Commercial Encourages Girls to “Be Anything”

Mattel’s new ad inspires them to “imagine the possibilities.”

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Photo by Jamie Grill/Getty Images

For 56 years, Barbie has been the doll on every little girl’s holiday or birthday wishlist—but often, it seemed the toy pigeonholed young girls into traditionally feminine careers, including flight attendants or fashion editors. However, a newly released commercial from Mattel flips Barbie’s persona on her head. In the ad, girls are encouraged to be veterinarians, pro soccer coaches, college professors, and high-powered business executives. The ad asks: “What happens when girls are free to imagine they can be anything?”

In the two-minute video, hidden cameras capture adults’ unscripted reactions to young, elementary-aged girls as they assume grown-up roles. One girl teaches a room full of college students about the brain, and another is a tough soccer coach to a team of professional athletes. In every role, the adults play along as the girls act out their futures.

This is just one part of Mattel’s plan to revive the doll’s image—they also plan to release 78 new dolls in 2016. These dolls will have major changes, like diverse skin tones and hairstyles, as well as minor changes, like bendable ankles that allow Barbie to wear flats to work instead of high heels.

“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be,” Barbie’s creator Ruth Handler says on Mattel’s website. “Barbie has always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

Watch the full commercial below.