The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

June 14, 2022 | 3 min read

We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.

The ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ campaign was a risky one for Barbie-owner Mattel.

2015 – the year the ad was released – was peak Frozen. Disney’s movie had hit screens just a year before and quickly became the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Toys and other merchandise relating to the blockbuster lined store shelves, raking in yet more billions for Disney.

This was a problem for Mattel, struggling to keep the brand front of mind with parents and their Frozen-obsessed kids as the critical Christmas season approached.

At the same time, it was still battling a brand image problem that had slowly been eroding sales – parents simply thought the unrealistic body image of a Barbie doll was harmful to children.

So when the time came to launch a major ad campaign it had a choice: go down the tried-and-tested road of product-first marketing or… something else.

It chose the latter and drafted in BBDO San Francisco to develop an entirely new concept, one that would completely change the way parents thought about the toys. It wanted to show that the doll was the key to unlocking their kids’ imaginations.

The agency has since said the concept was inspired by Barbie creator Ruth Handler’s philosophy that “through the doll, the girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

The result was a two-minute spot aimed squarely at millennial parents, tackling their belief that Barbie played into an unattainable female stereotype.

It shows five girls playing out what they want to be when they grow up, choosing vet, museum guide, businesswoman, college professor and soccer coach.

The careers were reportedly chosen by each of the young actresses and they acted out the roles unscripted to the unsuspecting adults.

The ad was viewed more than 40m times online in just a few short months and was named by YouTube as the ad ‘that restores your faith in humanity’.

Its success paved a new direction for Mattel, which has been committed to the ‘Imagine the Possibilities’ platform ever since.

Creative Creative Works The World's Best Ads of All Time

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