The entire event revolves around a website where people can vote if Barbie should take Ken back. The simplistic website has huge buttons sending people to Ken and Barbies’ Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare page, there’s even a YouTube video where Ken uses Match.com to see if he and Barbie are compatible. Not enough? They’re also running a reality show on Hulu called The Genuine Ken and not coincidentally they’re about to release a new “Sweet Talking Ken Doll” who looks like a cross between Justin Bieber and the kids from Twilight.
Everything is so tongue-in-cheek, it’s obviously aimed more at adults than kids. Ken’s Twitter includes a mix of marketing messages:
Today’s goal: Try out the #NikeTrainingClub app that everybody is raving about. I’m always curious when fitness and technology meet.
And creepy Barbie stalker statements:
I want my doll’s heart back, and I need your help getting it!
Sprinkled throughout are references to Esquire Magazine, the Lakers, Match.com and the Super Bowl. And here’s a favorite:
Weekend Ken-fession: when I watched the ball drop on New Years, all I could think of was how much I missed @BarbieStyle.
Okay, is that dirty or is it just me?
Let’s look at the numbers. Ken’s Twitter has nearly 7,000 followers and 34,000 people liked his Facebook page. That’s a lot of people following and responding to an entity they know isn’t real. Why not? The fact that he’s a doll turns the whole thing into a giant role play game.
Barbie and Ken aren’t the first fictional characters to join the social network. @mmsgreen is the official Twitter of the Green M&M, Flo the annoying Progressive sales lady has her own Facebook page, and we’re all familiar with the Old Spice Man. What all of these accounts have in common is that they’re humorous and often pop culture related. They promote the brand without actually hawking the product and that’s why people like, follow and share them regularly.
A week ago, Ken Carson was a washed up, surfer doll without a future. Now, thanks to a social media push, he’s a hot commodity appearing in USA Today, The Toronto Sun and even on TV. Hey, Barbie! Maybe you should give this guy a second look.
Have you ever tried fictional social media on behalf of your brand? I’d like to hear about it.