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  • Writer's pictureJane Hayes Consulting

Barbie The Movie, Culture, And The Marketing.

Updated: 18 hours ago


Photos of people side by side. In the background are bright colours and in front is the word Barbie.

Barbie has been synonymous with many childhood memories since 1959. The toy collection is timeless and has continually evolved to reflect the ever-changing society, and the current chapter is no exception. The Barbie movie may have just hit cinemas, but the buzz has been building for over a year from every corner of the market, from Barbiecore to leaked footage to the countless brand collaborations; it’s pink and Barbie madness right now. Join JHC as we dissect the brilliant marketing strategies employed by the Barbie movie and its cultural effects.


Even as we researched this piece, we noted over 128 million Google results connected to the movie. Though the film's full impact on Mattel's bottom line hasn’t been published, there has already been a rapid increase in brand awareness and value. In 2021 the value of the brand was (US) $378 million, and in 2023, that has increased to (US) $701 million at a time when many brands are experiencing a downturn in spending due to the increasing pressure on households and the cost-of-living crunch. So, what have the team behind the marketing done well, and how can your business take cues from them? Join us to find out.


1. Why Has The Campaign Been So Effective?

2. Building on Brand Legacy:

3. Collaborations with A-List Talent:

4. Interactive Multi-Platform Marketing:

5. Social Media and Digital Campaigns:

6. Barbiecore:


1. Why Has The Campaign Been So Effective?

There are multiple factors at play here. Since it was announced that the Greta Gerwig production was in the making, we have seen a wave of pink. As the excitement increased with leaked footage of the filming with Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling dressed head to toe in pink – Barbie pink started to trend on the catwalk and streets, there was a sense of anticipation and playfulness that many embraced among the stresses the past year has generated. As Barbie mania increased, numerous product collaborations hit the market from beauty, retail and the FMCG sectors, which drew in both kids and kids at heart.


The social game for the movie has been strong, with people jumping to create their own versions of the movie poster and sharing them with abandon across all networks. What surprised many has been that the love and desire for pink hasn’t seemed to waver in this timeline and shows no sign of stopping yet; Barbie fashion is as hot as ever! The team in charge has been able to tap into the cultural zeitgeist and encourage their audiences to do some of the heavy lifting, which is an incredible achievement, you can’t log in to a social platform without seeing references, and now that the movie has hit cinemas it has gone into overdrive. Like other movies of this ilk, i.e., the Lego movie, it is a dramatised advertisement, but we are here for it!


2. Building on Brand Legacy:

The Barbie movie is a key product line extension, leveraging the brand's immense popularity. The film capitalises on the recognition, trust, and positive sentiments ingrained within the Barbie brand by tapping into the loyal fan base built over six decades. This connection provides an instant hook and familiarity, generating anticipation among old and new fans.


An aerial photo of a bright pink house sits on a hill. Theres a pool at the front with the name Ken spelled out in floating bubble letters

Barbie Collaborate with Airbnb to create a dream house.


3. Collaborations with A-List Talent:

The Barbie cast is filled with A-List faces from film, tv and music and the celebrity power of the film has done wonders for its publicity, appealing to a broader audience beyond its core demographic. Multiple teasers were created by other entertainment identities in the lead-up to the film's premiere; one was launched during preview screenings for Avatar: The Way of Water featuring a parody of the opening of Dawn of Man with Robbie dressed in Barbies original 1959 outfit. Seth Rogen produced the other to coincide with the film’s release; it took the form of stop-motion animation and was aired before Rogen’s new film.


Brand value of Barbie worldwide from 2015 to 2023


A bar graph showing stratistics on the growth of the value and popularity of Barbie from 2015 to 2023

4. Interactive Multi-Platform Marketing:

The team behind the Barbie movie recognised the importance of a multi-platform marketing approach. Alongside the film's release, an array of merchandise, video games, mobile apps, and interactive web content has been launched. By integrating these products across multiple touchpoints, the Barbie movie has created a comprehensive brand experience that encourages engagement and extends the movie's reach far beyond the theatre. Experiential marketing has played a significant role in the build-up to the launch, with Airbnb creating a Barbie dreamhouse experience, a Barbie world has been set up in Los Angelis for adults to experience an all-pink world featuring cocktails and photo booths, and a themed boat cruise made its way down Boston waterways. In Australia, Barbie took over Sydney’s Icebergs and turned the icon into a Barbie dream. By utilising a diverse range of mediums and brand collaborations, the studio's marketing team have connected with a wide variety of ages, many of whom would have a sense of nostalgia for the iconic doll.


A collection of beauty products and a branded bag with the name Barbie sits on a pink background

One of many Barbie make-up lines created in line with the movie.


5. Social Media and Digital Campaigns:

Understanding the significance of social media in modern marketing, the Barbie movie embraced platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to engage its audience. They generated excitement by sharing video teasers, behind-the-scenes footage, and interactive challenges, encouraging fan conversations, and inspiring user-generated content. There was a time earlier in the year when you couldn’t check your socials without seeing someone using a Barbie filter or editing themselves into a promo poster, or even donning a bright pink item of fashion. Movie trailers were shared with abandon as the anticipation grew, and this, combined with various marketing activations, meant that audiences were swept up in an almost immersive world of pink.


A young woman with dark skin walks down a fashion runway in a bright pink outfit

Barbiecore fashion hits the runway.


6. Barbiecore:

Before a poster was seen, pink was everywhere! The ever-increasing amount of prink clothes, accessories, and beauty products lit the flame for the official marketing activities of the film. If you hadn’t seen a promotional poster, a head-to-toe pink outfit on the runway, or street shouted that something was happening, the average consumer was part of the marketing campaign. The trend celebrates all things pink, glamorous, and girly, creating a world of dreamy nostalgia and unapologetic identity. The trend is characterised by a colour palette dominated by bright pinks, pastels, and metallics.


Outfits often feature playful and flamboyant designs, such as ruffled dresses, fluffy skirts, sequined tops, and tulle skirts. Barbiecore hasn’t been just about fashion, however. It has extended to interior design, with rooms and living spaces inspired by Barbie's Dreamhouse. Barbiecore is essentially a lifestyle choice. It encourages embracing one's femininity and interests without fear of judgment or stereotypes. It’s not just a fashion trend but a celebration of all things pink, fabulous, and unapologetically feminine.


A collection of female actresses pose on the cover of Time magazine dressed in black and white clothing

The Women of Barbie take the cover of Time.


Conclusion:

The marketing strategies employed by the Barbie movie provide an insightful lesson in how to successfully extend a beloved brand into the realm of entertainment. By leveraging the Barbie legacy, collaborating with A-list talent, embracing diversity, employing multi-platform marketing, and leveraging the power of social media, the film has captured the hearts of both children and adults.


In the promotion of the movie, they have been able to tap into the audience's inner child and sense of play and encouraged audiences to join the fun, spreading the campaign's message even further. What many businesses can take from the campaign is to be true to their grounding as a business, embrace personality, encourage interaction with audiences and have fun; you don’t always need to be serious when marketing your brand.





Jane Hayes Consulting, Leading You Through The Digital World:

Jane Hayes Consulting is an independent digital marketing agency founded to help businesses create consistent, creatively aligned, and strategic content. Jane Hayes Consulting can help you put your best foot forward with our expertly crafted team covering website design and building, marketing strategy, content creation, brand creation, and project management. We work within budget restraints and look toward the future. Need assistance in developing your digital strategy and creating a business advantage? Contact Jane Hayes Consulting today and sign up for our newsletter.

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