Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?
Barbie has always believed in girls' unlimited potential and has helped them to imagine a world where they can be anything through play. But the real world does not always reflect that same opportunity. In fact, starting at age 5, many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs. They stop believing their gender can do or be anything. This is the Dream Gap, and Barbie is committed to closing it. As the original girl empowerment brand, Barbie launched the Dream Gap Project, an ongoing global initiative that aims to give girls the resources and support they need to continue to believe that they can be anything.
What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?
In 2017, a scientific study* emerged revealing that in early childhood, girls lose the confidence to imagine they can be anything they want to be. That pivotal moment where she loses her former confidence is called the Dream Gap. For a brand like Barbie, that was built on inspiring limitless imagination and possibilities, this was the time to take action and use their voice to start a conversation on this critical issue.
"Starting at age 5, girls stop believing they can be…" When we discovered this sad truth, which is the essence of the Dream Gap, we knew we had to act. Having set our sights on the Dream Gap, we explored a myriad of ways to communicate that message to the world. Ultimately, we realized nothing would be more powerful than to hear it from those who the Dream Gap impacts the most – girls. These girls became the mouthpiece of the brand and reminded us all how important it is to build a world that allows them to dream big and unobstructed.
Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?
Casting authentic girls has always been at the heart of Barbie communications and we go to great lengths to find the very best talent. We want to accurately reflect the world around us and celebrate girls’ authentic voices to spread awareness for the challenges and barriers they face in society.
Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?
As a global brand sharing a message on the Internet, a global tool, we have to make sure our messaging is accurate and truthful to all. With this campaign, we were leveraging statistics to convey the issue at hand. The problem we faced is that a statistic in the USA is not necessarily relevant in, say, China or India. So to make sure our message worked globally, we did extensive research and fact-checking. We tightened our script to make it more impactful to a global audience, with stats that powerfully communicate the issue and that are accurate around the world.
Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?
Our message was heard, shared, and engaged with around the world, that’s millions of people who can start acting to close the Dream Gap for the next generation of women.
What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?
Social media was critical to getting our message to as many people as possible. We’ve focused on platforms that enabled sharing and amplification by influencers. And we drove people to the Dream Gap Project site for deeper education and support on the cause.
Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?
While we wanted the whole world to hear our message about the Dream Gap, our most important audience was Moms. We knew social media was the best place to reach them and encourage their advocacy to help #CloseTheDreamGap.
How did this project defy your expectations?
With a very limited media budget, we reached a massive audience and world resoundingly agreed with our message expressing positive sentiment towards the brand and more importantly the mission to close to Dream Gap.
How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?
Technology allows us to weave incredible immersive stories that not only entertain but educate. As a toy brand, we see more and more the increase in time spent playing with and using modern day technology. We’re endeavoring to create inspiring work that uses technology to talk to the most relevant people, to inspire change and action, so the children playing with our toys today, can grow up in a more inclusive and diverse world.