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The Marketing Success of the Barbie Movie

August 22, 2023


The Marketing Success of the Barbie Movie

Pink is undeniably the color of the summer. How’d we get here? Great marketing.

The Barbie movie has remained inescapable in the news and social media for the entire year. The marketing campaign helped launch the film into the first billion-dollar box-office movie by a solo female director in just 17 days. Here’s a glimpse into some of the genius of Barbie marketing.

The Strategy

Josh Goldstine, the head of global marketing for Warner Bros., broke down the studio’s strategy for this movie in an interview with Variety. He breaks the marketing strategy cleanly into two main categories. The first is paid media, seen in the pink billboards worldwide and the tremendous amount of paid partnerships. These partnerships are everywhere, from a Malibu Dreamhouse bookable on Airbnb to a pink electric toothbrush from Moon. A big goal of paid media is to be seen, often using other brands’ audiences to turn more attention to your brand. This is especially true when they have your target audience. This constant exposure will pique people’s interest and create engagement with the media, hopefully leading to ticker sales.

Goldstine said they used paid media as a “breadcrumb strategy” to eventually build earned media. This type of marketing is an organic form of conversation, like social media buzz, and is where this marketing campaign shines. Earned media is often seen as more personal and trustworthy and drives sales rather than just adding to exposure. People talking about Barbie online, whether it is just a meme or a recommendation to see the movie, is likely a significant reason for passing the $1 billion threshold so quickly.

The Importance of the Brand and Budget

While the marketing campaign for the Barbie movie is critical to its success as a film, it would be foolish to say the brand recognition of the subject was irrelevant to this success. Since the 1960s, Barbie has been a household name. Multiple generations of kids have grown up knowing and thinking favorably of the brand. This affects every element of the marketing strategy of Warner Bros.

Partnerships are easier for established and likable brands because there is a perception of less risk and more potential rewards for less effort. There is also an element of pre-established comfortability with established brands that make earned media smoother for the creators.

Lastly, a marketing campaign with a list of paid media this long has a massive marketing budget, with some speculating up to $150 million. An enormous budget makes sense for a marketing campaign so reliant on paid media. Luckily, we can still grab a few takeaways that are budget-friendly.

What To Take From the Barbie Marketing Campaign

There are some important nuggets of marketing gold for any business to take away from the Barbie campaign. Here are a few:

  • Brand Identity: This campaign wouldn’t be where it is without hot pink. Having a solid brand identity laced throughout your content leads people back to you and ensures your marketing is effective. Do this with a great logo, cohesive styles, and authenticity throughout your marketing material.
  • Exposure: Being seen is the first step in your marketing journey, and it can be the most important one. Do not underestimate the value of paid media or collaborations in your marketing process, especially if you are trying to attract more leads.
  • Earned Media: While it is more challenging to get earned media, it can be some of the most important to turning leads into sales. To stimulate ideal earned media, consider where customers discover you most or what they need to convince them to choose you over the competition. These could be reviews, testimonials, referrals, or word-of-mouth recommendations. Asking for these from your existing client base, or incentivizing them to post these, can be a game changer for your marketing strategy.

If you want to take your marketing strategy to the next level (a Barbie level), Abask can help. Schedule a free consultation today at www.abaskmarketing.com/schedule.



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