We’ve all been feeling the Kenergy for months surrounding the Barbie Movie brought along mostly by the aggressive marketing for the anticipated film. The movie’s marketing has made such a splash in our culture that people are calling it a full-on feminist movement. Recently, the “Barbie” movie reached theaters and has already made $1 billion in the box office. Having a star-studded cast with Margo Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, it was bound to be successful. However, with such an iconic and nostalgic subject matter, you would assume that the marketing team wouldn’t have to push the movie out to the masses too intensely due to the already existing fame surrounding Barbie and the cast. However, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. With a whopping $150million marketing budget (more than the movie’s actual budget), the marketing for the movie was on another level. This gamble was a success, as Barbie has been rapidly breaking records. In its opening weekend alone it grossed about $155million, making it the best opening weekend for a female director in history. How fitting!
For months now, everywhere you look it seems like Warner Bros has placed Barbie pink on almost every brand, restaurant, company, etc. According to Paul Dergarabedian, “This is a test case in how to perfectly market a movie.” Pink billboards and flash mobs have been popping up in various cities, but it doesn’t stop there. Just to name a few of the outlandish tactics and collaborations they have utilized: A real life Barbie Dream House in Malibu you can rent on Airbnb, a tube line in London was renamed from Barbican line to Barbiecan line, Barbie Xbox controllers, Barbiecore fashions with brands like Balmain and Valentino, home insurance policies, whitening toothpaste, suitcases, underwear, a themed boat cruise. t even goes as far as Burger King creating pink sauce for a Barbie Burger! The list goes on and on.
Now let’s talk strategy. Other than the 100 plus collaborations Warner Bros did for the Barbie Movie, what else was a part of their game plan? Uniquely this is one of the only movie campaigns that has truly been able to market to all ages. Along with Warner Bros traditional marketing strategies with teasers and ads they also placed lead actress Margot Robbie in different press tour appearances around the world wearing iconic Barbie outfits. First spotted in Barbie’s pink corvette in 2022 which received an overwhelming amount of buzz. However, there was a whole other layer to the genius marketing.
Mattel was a big part of this campaign because after all they aren’t just marketing the movie, they are marketing the Barbie brand. The goal was to get everyone playing with Barbie, and that doesn’t mean just the doll. For Barbie as a brand, going forward the company sees the brand expanding beyond the toy aisle more than it already has. They did just that. This is where the Barbie movement comes in. The more the movie and Barbie herself move to the center of conversations, the more beauty standards, feminism, and female empowerment also move to the center of conversations. Over the last year and a half, Mattel has been reaching out to brands to collaborate, but naturally the more buzz the campaign got the more brands wanted to join in on the fun. Then a snowball effect happened and the marketing seemed to come organically from brands to TikTok to memes. Warner Bros. president of global marketing Josh Goldstine said in his 35 years “this is one of the most unique experiences I’ve ever had.”
All in all this marketing campaign was the perfect storm. A seamless mix of nostalgia, trends, marketing, and feminism, this campaign will go down in history. Barbra Millicent Roberts has shaped the life of many women and girls around the world, and it is exciting to see her re-inserted into today’s pop-culture. If you haven’t already seen The Barbie Movie it is now in theaters; don’t miss it!