We Need Radio DJ Barbie

Posted on April 20, 2012


I wasn’t looking for this, I swear.

I had watched a Wall Street Journal video about the reality of self-driving cars and while I was ruminating on the implications the player rolled over to the next clip about the state of Barbie on her 53rd birthday.

What surprised me is how similar Barbie is to the radio industry. She’s been around for 53 years, has had her ups and downs and is currently facing competition from newer, hipper dolls like the Bratz just like radio is facing challenges from Pandora, Slacker, iPods, iPads and every other new form of entertainment out there.

Barbie’s answer for staving off her competitors is something everyone in radio can take a lesson from, she’s doubling down on efforts to be more topical and timely. She has a big tie-in with “The Hunger Games,” and is coming out with new clothing designed by the same person who makes clothes for Michelle Obama both of which are interesting to her audience.

The place Barbie has missed the boat is getting involved with social causes. The Bratz dolls already have a bald character to act as a role model for sick children and to help healthy children be more sensitive to what others are going through. Barbie has yet to show her socially conscious side.

Interestingly, the idea for dolls that reflect social issues reportedly came from social networking meaning the audience had the idea. Another area where radio can continue to work harder.

Ok, that’s enough for today. I’m going back to playing with my G.I. Joe action figures and don’t you dare call them dolls. I’ll have Cobra Commander beat you up.