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A Crowdsourced Barbie Doll

Mattel, the makers of Barbie dolls used crowdsourcing to decide which career the next Barbie doll should have. Mattel promoted its online crowdsourcing contest on Facebook, Twitter, and with some regional advertising. The voting choices were: Architect, Anchorwoman, Computer Engineer, Environmentalist, and Surgeon. Over 600,000 votes were cast and the winner was…


Or was it?

Since the voting was open to anyone anywhere, non-Barbie loving fans were able to cast their ballot. Young girls, who are Barbie loving fans, voted overwhelmingly for Anchorwoman Barbie. Other non-Barbie loving fans voted for Computer Engineer Barbie.

The Barbie community voted for the Anchorwoman doll and a well-orchestrated crowd of engineers voted for Computer Engineer Barbie.

To Mattel’s credit, they are following the direction of the crowd and releasing a Computer Engineer Barbie. Mattel is also giving its real community of fans what they want by producing an Anchorwoman Barbie doll.

What if Mattel hadn’t used crowdsourcing but rather, “communitysourcing” to decide what career Barbie should have next? Communitysourcing could have saved Mattel from spending unnecessary time and money addressing the matter.

Perhaps Tom Myerman is onto something when he talks about rethinking crowdsourcing in favor of communitysourcing.


  • TV James says:

    When I relayed this to my wife, she had quite the opposite reaction than I expected — she thought it was good to expose this field to little girls who may not think about it.You see anchorwomen on TV — and it seems to be a short-lived career. On the other hand, you don’t see engineers. Not as glamorous. But a lot more jobs in the field.

  • Gigi says:

    On one hand I completely agree that community sourcing should have been used, particularly in this instance as Facebook and Twitter are not entirely aimed towards little girls. However, TV James and his wife make an extremely valid point. Little girls do not think of becoming a computer engineer as it is not continuously in front of them, nor is it glamorised. However, although it is a lovely idea to give little girls the option to be a computer engineer and be supportive towards all careers, it can only improve the Barbie image as you can be beautiful, blonde and smart.And anyways the Anchorwoman probably had nicer clothes….!