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: