Barbie EVERYWHERE. How The Barbie Movie’s Big-Budget Marketing Campaign Sets a New Precedent.

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Author: Maitry Soni

Whether you’ve prebooked your tickets or not, Barbie’s here in a new movie and if you haven’t heard about it…we’re a bit worried. As marketers, watching the extensive marketing campaign unfold and surround us has been pretty impressive and interesting. So we thought we’d have a bit of fun and dive a bit deeper into exactly what’s been done, and why it’s interesting – and how we can learn from it.

UGC and Interactive Experiences

Mattel and Universal Studios made a statement – Barbie’s part of the now and not just the past. She’s here, banging on the other side of your phone screen. People love a new AR(augmented reality) filter on TikTok/Instagram (even though they’ve kinda been done to death…) and avid social media users lapped this up.

It quickly went viral and became a trend on TikTok, and everybody had one more foot in the Barbie world. If you had avoided the Barbie stuff this far, you might struggle now.

UGC is huge for brands now, and enabling users to create new content they actually want to share it with their own followers and friends is extremely powerful for awareness – and the people behind this campaign smashed it.

Barbie EVERYWHERE

We talked above about the inescapable tide of Barbie promo. If you didn’t already know the brand which always had a strong recall element, then you do now. It’s hot pink and curly typography, and it’s everywhere and unmistakable.

We’ve had:

  • A massive pink house in Malibu, California on AirBnB (Yes, it’s real)
  • A barbie Café in New York City
  • A Barbie-branded Xbox edition
  • A Burger King meal
  • Pink London buses
  • Barbie pink lemonade (Swoon)
  • Pink toothpaste and brushes (Moon Oral Care)
  • The Barbie car in the game Forza Horizon 5
  • Candy Crush turning a candy into a B
  • Pink hummus
  • Pink suitcases, make up, jewellery, pool collections, candles, rugs, shoes, clothing, rollerblades and more

Not only have they turned everything hot pink, they’ve repositioned Barbie from being an outdated anti-feminism icon (see the advice from the 1960s Barbie book on how to lose weight – “DON’T EAT.”) – into a modern and relevant character and brand that people like again. They’ve been careful on their communications, distancing themselves from the past and bringing Barbie into the now.

Repositioning a brand can be difficult, but when done well, it can be extremely valuable.

Building the hype and buzz

Tying in with all the pink stuff, the Barbie Movie marketing succeeded in drumming up buzz and hype around the anticipated release.

It’s famously been pitted against the much-anticipated latest Christopher Nolan film Oppenheimer, which is due to release on the same day – and there’s been plenty of chatter and hashtags around this.

The marketing team also drip-fed the public via advertising and marketing with small incremental increases in info and content from the movie, including cryptic billboards and short teasers – all adding to the mystery and suspense and adding to the hype. They get you thinking ‘what will the Barbie film actually be like?’.

Many of the pink-ified products were limited edition and had parents and kids (and probably scalpers) running around trying to get their hands on some, whilst probably talking about it on social media.

The hashtags, the advertising, the social media chatter all helped build a cacophony of hype, and before it peaks, that hype is infectious – helping spread awareness even further.

Wrapping Up

In summary, the marketing for the Barbie movie has interwoven itself in the fabric of modern culture and surrounded us so much that you can’t not have heard about it or seen something ‘fun’ they’ve done to promote it – and if you or the people in your life are keen on Barbie then the hype is certainly very real. The success of the marketing campaign is a testament to the creativity of the marketing team behind it. Whether you like Barbie or not, you gotta hand it to them.


Maitry Soni