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This article is for Barbie, the brand. For Barbie, the character, see Barbie Roberts.
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Barbie is a brand by Mattel. It began with the original Barbie doll that was released on March 9, 1959. The doll was created by Ruth Handler, and named after her daughter Barbara.

Barbie has had over 200 inspirational careers and is the most popular fashion doll ever produced, sold in over 150 countries. The Barbie brand has products in 45 categories, including food, fitness, and clothing, and has over 99% brand awareness globally. The brand is extremely popular online, with billions of minutes of content created each year and millions of followers on Barbie social media accounts such as YouTube and Instagram.[1] The brand has made over $1-billion each year since 2011.[2]

1950's

Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler, had two children named Barbara and Kenneth. She noticed that Kenneth had a variety of toys to play with, with various careers, whereas Barbara's toys were limiting and only allowed her to play as a mother or caregiver.[3] The original Barbie doll was revealed at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959. It was sold for $3.00. Barbie's hair was in a signature ponytail and she wore a black and white swimsuit. The first commercial aired during an episode of The Mickey Mouse Club.[4] Some people were sceptical that Barbie would not sell well, because baby and toddler dolls were popular at the time, not fashion dolls. However, Barbie went on to become an iconic doll.[5]

1960's

Ken was introduced on March 11, 1961. He was named after Ruth Handler's son, Kenneth Handler. He was Barbie's boyfriend, and he was the first male character.[6] Barbie made her European debut.[7]

In 1962, the first Barbie Dreamhouse was released. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie was released. In 1967, a Twiggy Barbie doll was released. She was the first celebrity to have a doll in her likeness.[8]

In 1966, Barbie's cousin Francie was introduced.

In 1967, a Black Francie doll named "Coloured Francie" was released in 1967, and it was the first ever Black doll in the Barbie brand.[9] A Twiggy Barbie doll was released. She was the first celebrity to have a doll in her likeness.[10]

In 1968, Barbie's friend Christie was introduced.[11] She was the first ever Black character in the Barbie brand to not be an alternate version of a White character, such as the "Colored Francie" doll.

1970's

In 1971, the first Barbie Camper was released.[12] Barbie's first horse, Dancer, was also released.[13]

1980's

In 1980, Mattel released the first Black and Hispanic dolls named Barbie.[14] The first National Barbie® Doll Collectors Convention took place.[15]

In 1984, Barbie had her first designer collaboration ever with Oscar de la Renta. He created a collection of clothes for Barbie.[16]

In 1985, the "We Girls Can Do Anything" ad campaign was launched.[17]

In 1986, Andy Warhol created a painting of Barbie.[18]

In 1986, Barbie debuted in India.[19]

1990's

Barbie collecting became more popular in the 1990's because of designer dolls and eBay.[20]

In 1992, Totally Hair™ Barbie was released and became the best-selling Barbie doll of all time. A Barbie For President doll was released, and it has become tradition for Barbie to run for President in every election year since.[21]

In 1997, the Aqua song "Barbie Girl" was released.

2000's

The Barbie YouTube account was created on October 5, 2005.[22] As of July 14, 2021, there are over 10-million subscribers and the videos have had over 3-billion views.[23]

In May 2006, a mint condition original blonde 1959 Barbie doll sold for $27,450 at auction held by Sandi's Doll Attic.[24]

Barbie joined Twitter in January 2009.[25]

March 9, 2009 was the 50th Barbie anniversary. The 50th Anniversary Barbie Doll was released. The dress was available on Stardoll.com.[26] Barbie had a fashion show in New York at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and 50 designers created looks inspired by Barbie, including her iconic black-and-white swimsuit.[27]

In 2009, the Barbie Fashionistas line began.

2010's

In 2010, Barbie partnered with jewelry designer Stefano Canturi for a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[28][29] There are conflicting reports on the doll. According to WNYC, Canturi worked on the doll for six months, and the doll wears a white diamond necklace with a one-carat emerald-cut pink "Fancy Vivid" diamond in the center. The pink diamond was found in Australia's Argyle mine and was worth $300,000. The doll was auctioned on October 20th for $250,000 dollars.[30] According to Barbie Media, it sold for $302,500 at auction.[31] According to Time, it was worth between $300,000 to $500,000 and Canturi worked on it for four weeks.[32]

Every year since 2011, Barbie has introduced another career to the brand.[33]

In 2012, Barbie partnered with Royal Caribbean International cruises.[34]

In 2014, the Instagram account @barbiestyle was launched. It became one of he fastest growing fashion Instagram accounts,[35] reaching 2 million followers in March 2019.[36]

In 2015, Barbie became a YouTube vlogger with the Barbie Vlogger series. It made Barbie the number 1 girls' brand on YouTube.[37] The first Barbie Sheroes dolls were released.[38] A doll for Barbie's signature pink shade (Pantone color #219C) was released.[39][40] The "Imagine the Possibilities" ad campaign was launched and was selected as one of the most iconic ads of 2015, based on YouTube Ads Leaderboard.[41]

In 2016, when Barbie ran for President, she had an all-female ticket for the first time.[42] Barbie introduced new body types for the Barbie Fashionistas dolls: Original, Curvy, Petite and Tall. It was covered by Time Magazine.[43]

In 2018, Barbie's #MoreRoleModels campaign created the Inspiring Women doll line.[44]

2020's

In 2021, the Barbie Signature website moved.[45][46]

Another character named Barbie Roberts was introduced. Her nickname was Brooklyn because she is from Brooklyn, New York. She was first seen in Barbie Vlogger and starred in the 2021 movie Barbie: Big City, Big Dreams. Earlier that year, the movie Barbie & Chelsea The Lost Birthday was released. It was the first year since 2017 where there had been two Barbie movies.

References

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