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New Barbie ad featuring boy was 'parody,' despite praise for Mattel
A video of a Barbie ad went viral online when a little boy was included as one of three kids playing with the doll. Despite praise for Mattel, the toy brand actually isn't behind the decision. - photo by Chandra Johnson
A video of a Barbie ad has gone viral online when a little boy was included as one of three kids playing with the doll.

Fashion brand Moschino partnered with Barbie creator Mattel for the creation of the collector doll, which sold out in less than an hour.

The ad's portrayal of the little boy gained online praise for Mattel for supposedly challenging gender tropes in child marketing. Yahoo Parenting called the ad "Mattel's inclusive move."

"I used to play with my sister's Barbies and felt such shame afterward. I'm so glad we can just let kids be kids, posted one commenter on the video's YouTube page.

But the BBC reported that the decision to include the boy in the ad wasn't Mattel's, but Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott, who has said in past interviews that Barbie served as both toy and "muse" to him.

The ad, Mattel clarified in a statement to the BBC, was meant as a "parody" of Barbie ads from the 1980s and was completely Scott's decision. The company stopped short of saying they disagreed with the boy's presence in the ad.

"The video celebrates how boys and girls alike play with Barbie it's all about self-expression, fashion, imagination and storytelling," Mattel told the BBC.

Barbie and other toymakers and retailers have been criticized of late for being too blatant in marketing toys to children along gender lines. This summer, Target announced that it would remove gender-specific marketing materials from its toy aisles in response to customer requests.
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