Come On Barbie Let’s Go Party: A Look Into the ‘Barbie’ Movie Marketing Campaign

By Madison Taylor
October 11, 2023
The Barbie logo displayed on a smartphone.

The recently released Barbie movie has created waves, alongside the epic biopic Oppenheimer. It became a widely touted cinematic mash-up known as Barbenheimer that spawned tons of fan-created content and a massive following. While the Barbie film is a modern classic in its own right with its stunning aesthetics and unique production, its positive response was also largely a result of its robust marketing campaign.

Barbie Movie Marketing Campaign

As part of the usual promotional practices, the Barbie movie marketing campaign released a series of engaging movie trailers and posters that built anticipation for the official launch. These clips, scenes, and snippets presented the movie’s fantastical art direction in a throwback to the classic Barbie style – fashion-forward, positive vibes, and bold colors. These stylistic pieces also connected with audiences on a deeper level, echoing the movie’s underlying theme of self-discovery and life’s purpose.

Adding to the effectiveness of the campaign was a star-studded cast that featured multi-award-winning actress Margot Robbie as the titular character and Ryan Gosling as her partner Ken. Robbie even guided audiences through a behind-the-scenes (BTS) visit to the Barbie set, introducing viewers to the brilliance of director Greta Gerwig’s inspirations. These included musical scores based on the 1950s (from the celebrated doll’s earliest days) and handmade props that brought the Barbie concept to life.

Traveling Far And Wide With User-Generated Content

The Barbie movie marketing team leveraged user-generated content (UGC) as part of their overall strategy. USG remains a top draw in the modern digital age, providing consumers with authentic (i.e., social proof) and relatable content that boosts audience engagement.

Barbie’s creative team launched the Barbie Selfie Generator that enabled users to instantly upload a picture of themselves and transform into Barbie characters with a stylized filter. The Selfie Generator also included a hashtag (#BarbieTheMovie) for promoting their creations on social media channels. The strategy caught on with audiences quickly, with many fans and moviegoers sharing their AI-generated Barbie memes across their network.

People seeking to relive the nostalgia of playing Barbie dolls during their younger years might consider trying the Selfie Generator for themselves and sharing their designs with the world. As such, Barbie’s UGC had the potential to outperform official movie trailers and posters since it could circulate among audiences across their personal networks.

Brand Collaborations

Multiple brand collaborations are another highlight of the Barbie movie marketing campaign. Retail brands joined the Barbie movement, such as fashion brands that released Barbie-themed collections in line with the movie’s launch.

Popular brand names in the mix include Forever 21 and Hot Topic. Other notable brand collaborations include Xbox (offering an exclusive Barbie console), Impala skates, and makeup kits. Even Progressive Insurance hopped on the Barbie bandwagon with a humorous commercial alluding to Barbie as a secret client.

On a grander scale, vacation rental company Airbnb partnered with the movie’s marketing team, by giving away an exclusive pair of one-night stays at a Barbie-style mansion in Malibu. The building’s architecture resembles the iconic Barbie Dreamhouse seen in the movie and is usually not for rent.

The Barbie crossovers are the latest movements in its parent company Mattel’s collaborative branding strategy that has proven successful in recent years. Mattel has leveraged intellectual property (IP) licensing that saw a profitable revenue in the second quarter of 2022 with sales increased by 20%.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, the Barbie movie marketing campaign has proven successful through a strategic combination of traditional advertising, digital promotions, and partnerships. A multipronged approach turned a wider audience’s attention to the hot pink idol’s rise to the big screen.

Integrated marketing, essentially doing different things that involve diverse channels, is now the gold standard for brands. And how fitting it is for the sign of the times to be represented by the Jane of all trades herself—the ageless Barbie.