The official video for the 1997 hit single has now surpassed 1 billion views on YouTube since it was uploaded to the video platform by the Danish-Norwegian pop group in 2010. According to YouTube, “Barbie Girl” has averaged more than 400,000 daily views over the past 12 months.
The calculatedly kitschy “Barbie Girl” video features the group’s four members — Søren Rasted, Claus Norreen, René Dif and Lene Nystrøm — on garishly colored sets. The song and video are ostensibly a satire of Mattel’s iconic doll, riffing on the implicit sexual relationship between Barbie and Ken. Per the song’s chorus: “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world / Life in plastic, it’s fantastic / You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere / Imagination, life is your creation.”
Mattel had sued MCA Records, Aqua’s label, over “Barbie Girl,” alleging the song’s lyrics “associate sexual and other unsavory themes with its Barbie products.” An appeals court ruled that “Barbie Girl” was protected as a parody under the First Amendment, and the case was dismissed. In 2009, Mattel licensed “Barbie Girl” for use in an advertising campaign.
Other ’90s music videos to reach the YouTube billion-views club include Guns N’ Roses “November Rain,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” 4 Non Blondes’ “What’s Up,” The Cranberries’ “Zombie,” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”
Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” topped music charts globally when it was released, and it remains among the best-selling singles in the U.K.
The group celebrated the billion-views YouTube milestone in social media posts: