Inside the “Depression Barbie” commercial from the movie

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It’s one of the most significant things in 2023, at least in the movie context: Barbie becomes a movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, placing the famous doll in a new set of interactions with the real world and its emotions. The film’s plot brings Barbie closer to our everyday life, which means that the doll starts having new feelings: this leads to one of the key scenes, the “Depression Barbie commercial” we saw in the middle of the film. Let’s discover its meaning and why it hits the spectators’ psyche so hard.

You can watch the official trailer for the 2023 movie Barbie here on Youtube.

Inside the “Depression Barbie” commercial from the movie

In the 2023 movie Barbie released, we watch the famous doll dealing with human emotions for the first time in her life: she starts having thoughts about mortality, discovering that the real girl playing with her in the real world is living a challenging moment. That brings Barbie closer to the real world, leading to a whole new set of feelings: soon enough, we see Barbie dealing with depression, immediately reflected in the famous “Depression Barbie” commercial you see in the movie.

The meanings of this form of depression are multiple. On the one hand, Barbie’s new feelings simply reflect what Gloria is experiencing in the real world: she is a mother with a teenage daughter living in a sort of existential crisis. Gloria starts playing with her daughter’s Barbie, and the doll acquires that new set of emotions, including the depression mood.

However, that’s not the only reason that leads to the “Depression Barbie” and that shocking commercial in the movie. When Barbie returns to Barbieland, she realizes that everything has changed: in the movie’s philosophy, Ken discovers how men dominate the real world and decides to shift Barbieland’s society, adopting the antiquated, stereotypical forms of old patriarchy. That directly triggers “Depression Barbie,” making her close to Gloria’s feelings. Therefore, Gloria and Barbie will discuss how hard being a woman is, leading to their new life purposes.

In the movie, Barbie’s feelings and experiences in Barbieland immediately influence Mattel’s marketing strategy. That’s how the “Depression Barbie” commercial comes up: in a slight simplification of what depression is, Mattel releases a new commercial where Barbie is depressed, and everybody around her cries. Depression, in Barbie, assumes the form of apathy: the doll has a phone in her hand, passively scrolling social networks, looking for some unidentified input that could bring new light.

Despite being a quick moment in the movie plot, the dichotomy between what Barbie always represented and her depressed commercial struck the spectators’ minds. Barbie’s depression scene became viral on social networks, even before the video became available online. 

In its own way, the 2023 movie Barbie introduced many elements of analysis about our society. It mainly portrays them through stereotypes, but that’s precisely the idea behind the movie’s protagonist. After all, depression can perfectly have a part in the stereotypes of life, and that’s why the “Depression Barbie” commercial was so effective in the movie.

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