Publiceret: 2/20/2013
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Mattel Mattel Delights Children of All Ages with Virtual Visit to Barbie Dream Closet

How do you keep one of the world’s most iconic brands relevant? Look to technology. Mattel agencies Gun Communications and Adapptor used Kinect for Windows to create Barbie the Dream Closet, a virtual closet where children and adults can see what their favorite Barbie ensemble looks like on them. Adapptor attributes the project’s rapid development to the rich Kinect for Windows hardware and software, using the technology to attract customers and talent.

Business Needs
Barbie is one of the world’s top doll brands and one of the biggest global brands in any category. Mattel is working to keep Barbie relevant to its latest generation of fans—children who have used tablet computers and smartphones since toddlerhood.

In 2012, Mattel launched a new global campaign for Barbie called “Wow! See what happens when you play with Barbie.” Melbourne, Australia, creative agency Gun Communications had been working with Mattel for several years to enhance various brands and started looking for ways to bring the 2012 Barbie campaign to life in Australia. Sarah Sproule, Director at Gun Communications, turned to Adapptor, a Perth-based developer that frequently collaborates with Gun Communications, for ideas. “To meet the needs of clients like Mattel and help them get exciting new promotional ideas to market quickly, we have to stay on top of the most innovative technologies,” says Mark Loveridge, Managing Director of Adapptor. He adds that with a strong Australian economy, recruiting quality people is difficult, and working with the coolest technologies helps attract top talent—which ultimately benefits clients like Mattel.

Adapptor had been exploring Kinect for Windows as an exciting new technology since its launch. Kinect for Windows is a platform that takes the magic of Kinect beyond gaming. With the Kinect for Windows sensor and software development kit (SDK), businesses and developers can create a new class of touch-free applications that give people the ability to interact naturally with computers by simply gesturing and speaking. The Kinect for Windows sensor includes a camera, depth sensors, and multi-array microphone that can see human body language. The SDK provides tools for assimilating Kinect sensor data from people’s gestures and speech and creating novel applications.

* Consumers absolutely love the Dream Closet. The expressions on the faces of the little kids were priceless. It was magical to see them … ‘become’ Barbie for a few minutes. *

Sarah Sproule
Director, Gun Communications

Loveridge and Sproule began talking about how they might put Kinect for Windows to work for Barbie. They came up with Barbie the Dream Closet (BDC)—a way to give Barbie fans a chance to step inside her world and try on her iconic clothes. Mattel loved the idea.

The Dream Closet is a larger-than-life hot pink, sparkly closet with an augmented reality “mirror” that contains virtual outfits from the past five decades. Using gesture-based controls, children browse through the closet and select outfits. Kinect for Windows determines the position and orientation of the user, and the application rescales Barbie’s clothes for a custom fit. Subjects can even take a photo, and those 13 years or older can post the photos to the Barbie Australian Facebook page.

“The clever part of this compared to other virtual dressing rooms is the ability to scale both the menus and clothes to a wide range of users, from a five-year-old to her excited mom, who probably also played with Barbie as a child,” Loveridge says. To facilitate this, each outfit was photographed on a Barbie doll, trimmed into multiple parts, and then built individually and dynamically by the custom application, built in Microsoft XNA. A PC running the Windows 7 operating system performs the rendering.

Gun Communications and Adapptor created BDC in just six months. “Everyone has been impressed by the flexibility and innovation that Microsoft has poured into Kinect for Windows,” Sproule says. BDC debuted at a launch event in Sydney in April 2012 and toured major malls in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne through September 2012.

Barbie the Dream Closet added digital pizzazz and built even more customer loyalty to the Barbie brand. By using Kinect for Windows, Mattel partners were able to develop the application in just six months and use the technology to attract talent.

New “Wow” for Barbie Brand
Barbie the Dream Closet elicited plenty of “wow” from children and their parents at launch events. “Consumers absolutely love the Dream Closet,” Sproule says. “The expressions on the faces of the little kids were priceless. It was magical to see them transported into Barbie’s wardrobe and to ‘become’ Barbie for a few minutes. There’s real power in that kind of reaction. It’s what every brand is after.”

The BDC tour attracted thousands of visitors and generated significant media coverage that has reached more than 25 million viewers and readers.

Rapid Development with Rich Features
Gun Communications and Adapptor were able to develop BDC in just six months, thanks to the SDK, the quality of the Kinect for Windows sensor, and the familiar Microsoft development environment. “If we would have had to write code from the ground up [versus using code provided in the SDK], it would have taken much longer, and the end result wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful,” Loveridge says. “The Kinect for Windows SDK doubled our development speed.”

Help in Attracting Top Talent
Working with innovative technologies like Kinect for Windows helps Adapptor recruit top talent—which directly benefits clients like Mattel looking for fresh ideas. “To be working with exciting technologies like Kinect for Windows is a real talent draw,” Loveridge says. “We want to be known for doing things that haven’t been done before and for using the best technology to do it.”

Mattel is looking at using Kinect for Windows for more Barbie promotions and other Mattel brands. “The impact of Kinect for Windows on the public and the Barbie brand is incredible,” says Amanda Allegos, Marketing Director at Mattel. “Kinect for Windows has given us a new way to reach existing Barbie fans and attract new ones in a way that’s contemporary, interactive, and bridges both the digital and physical worlds.”

For more information about other Microsoft customer successes, please visit:

Photo of child with Barbie the Dream Closet
"Wow! See what happens when you play with Barbie!"
With Barbie the Dream Closet, Mattel enlivened one of the world's top toy brands.

Photo of child with Barbie the Dream Closet
Step into a virtual Barbie closet
Kids select a Barbie outfit, and the application scales the outfit for a custom fit.

Photo of adult with Barbie the Dream Closet
Moms and dads can play, too
The Dream Closet scales clothes to fit adults, too.

Children watching others play with Barbie the Dream Closet
Priceless engagement
Kids were amazed at being able to wear the clothes of the doll that they love so much.

Photo of Barbie the Dream Closet
Quick to develop
Gun Communications and Adapptor created the Dream Closet in just six months.

Photo of young girl and father watching Barbie the Dream Closet
What every brand is after
The expressions on the faces of kids and parents was what every brand is after.

Photo of woman being measured by Kinect for Windows and Barbie the Dream Closet
Kinect for Windows measures
Kinect for Windows skeletal tracking determines the size and orientation of the wearer.

photo of child with her take-home photo from the Dream Closet
Cherished memories
Visitors to the Dream Closet can take a photo home with them, and those 13 years or older can post the photos to Facebook.

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Mattel is one of the world’s largest toy companies whose products and brands include Fisher Price, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, American Girl, and video game consoles.


  • Kinect for Windows sensor

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  • Microsoft Kinect for Windows
  • Microsoft XNA
  • Windows 7
  • Microsoft Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit

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Adapptor Gun Communications