Social Media Sweethearts

With Valentine’s Day only a week away, it seems everyone has love on the brain.  Some of us are making reservations or searching for that perfect sexy present.   Some of us are moping and planning verbal assaults on anyone who looks a little too happy on that dreaded day.

Some of us are looking to rekindle a lost love.

On Valentine’s Day in 2004, the world was dealt an emotional blow by Mattel.  Barbie and Ken had broken up and no, it wasn’t temporary.  The rumours flew – did she cheat, was he gay, did they just grow apart? No one knew.

Barbie & Ken, pictured in happier days (photo courtesy of Luster Studios)

One thing’s for certain – with that uber-romantic day just around the corner, Ken wants Barbie back and he’ll stop at nothing to get her attention.

Mattel has harnessed the power of social media to help Ken win Barbie back.  With both dolls already prolific Tweeters (@OfficalKen & @BarbieStyle), the brand has branched out into an aggressive campaign that includes Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube.  Through these platforms, you can follow Ken as he waxes nostalgic at memory-filled locations on Foursquare, fills out a profile on YouTube or designs a cupcake for Barbie at NYC’s famed Magnolia bakery.  At the centre of it all is a new website encouraging a call-to-action from Barbie & Ken fans –  Here, fans can vote to move the Love-O-Meter and help sway Barbie’s decision on Ken’s fate.

A customized Magnolia cupcake for Barbie

This campaign is a winner in that it capitalizes on the nostalgia from the 18-25 set, who are more likely to use social media, while remaining family-friendly for those who currently play with their Barbie & Ken dolls.  The cross-platform approach, combined with the engagement aspect of voting, is garnering both media attention and renewed interest from fans who had lost interest or forgotten about the brand.

The lessons here are clear: a cross-platform campaign that engages is second to none.  Other brands will certainly be taking notice of this 5-star social media effort, generating a high level of media buzz.

On that note, head on over to and vote. It’s not looking so good for Ken and Valentine’s is only a week away!