Valuable marketing lessons from Barbie the movie

The box office witnessed a dynamic duo that took the film industry by storm: Barbenheimer!

Conversations about these movies seemed to be everywhere, prompting me to delve into the marketing strategies behind one of them: Barbie the movie.

In today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape, brands must continually adapt and innovate to maintain their relevance.
Barbie, the iconic doll introduced by Mattel in 1959, has managed to capture the hearts and imaginations of generations spanning 63 years.

In this analysis, we’ll explore Barbie’s marketing approach through the lens of the CARE Framework, focusing on Collaboration, Agility, Reliability, and Empathy.

Before delving into the CARE Framework’s four enablers, it’s essential to note that the production cost of the Barbie movie totaled a whopping $145 million, with an additional $150 million allocated for marketing.

What’s intriguing is that the marketing campaign commenced a full year before the movie’s theatrical release.

This leads me to a valuable tip 1: For a marketing strategy to be bold and successful, it’s imperative to start planning well in advance.

Let’s start with Collaboration.
Collaboration and co-creation could be defined as the key ingredients in the marketing strategy of Barbie!

Spanning more than 100 international partnerships, “Barbie’s” campaign has infiltrated homes to ensure awareness of its summer spectacle. There’s Barbie-themed ice creamroller skates, and a Barbie Xbox.

But my all-time favorite collab was with Airbnb!  Ken’s house – inspired by Barbie’s lifestyle in pink – was available for just 2 nights in July, free of charge.
This pink mansion – situated in Malibu – was clearly a great PR stunt and brought the fairytale into real life.

You can also be sure that the interior style of the movie and the house will lead to new hospitality concepts.

TIP 2: Find partnerships to make the brand come to life in a different setting and context to target a different audience.

The second enabler in the CARE strategic framework is Agility!
Agility in marketing is crucial, and Barbie the movie has shown that it’s not just about adapting to change but staying ahead of it.
The film’s creators were quick to recognize the changing landscape of media consumption. In an era of streaming services and digital marketing, they ensured that Barbie’s story would be accessible to audiences across various platforms.

In April, the campaign kicked into high gear when WB unleashed a poster generator online, allowing social media users to personalize and insert themselves into shareable content, which, of course, also served as free promotion.

This agility extends to the movie’s content as well.
Barbie movies have evolved to embrace diversity, inclusion, and more contemporary themes like the discussion on wokeness.
It’s celebrating multiculturalism by featuring characters from different races and ethnicities. By watching this movie, young audiences will develop empathy, understanding, and an appreciation for diverse perspectives all over the globe.
This inclusive culture was introduced with the Barbie dolls years ago.
For instance:
– The first black Barbie was launched in 1980.
– The petite, tall, and curvy dolls were launched in 2016.
– The hijab Barbie was launched in 2017.

By addressing relevant social issues and adapting to modern storytelling, Barbie has remained relevant to a new generation of viewers while staying true to its timeless essence.

Tip 3: Embrace diversity and inclusion but make sure to do it in an authentic way that fits your culture and values.

Reliability is the cornerstone of building trust with consumers, and Barbie has been a reliable brand for decades. The movie adaptation is no exception. Fans have come to expect certain qualities from Barbie: a strong, independent character, a message of empowerment, and a sense of adventure.

The movie not only maintains these traits but also enhances them.

By delivering a consistent message, Barbie the movie reinforces the brand’s core values and assures consumers that they can trust in the experience, whether they are buying a doll or watching a movie. But trust today is also built through authenticity, openness, and vulnerability. The dialogues are quite daring – for a Hollywood blockbuster movie – and the way Mattel’s headquarters and CEO are portrayed reveals self-humor! This reliability fosters brand loyalty and encourages repeat engagement.

Tip 4: trust and reliability are built on your core DNA and values, but be aware that people today expect brands to be more open and honest. 

Empathy is perhaps the most emotionally resonant enabler of the CARE Framework. Barbie the movie has excelled in creating an emotional connection with its audience. The character of Barbie has evolved to reflect the aspirations and dreams of girls and boys from different backgrounds, cultures, and time periods.

By portraying Barbie as an empathetic and relatable character, the movie speaks to the hearts of viewers, making them feel understood and valued. This emotional connection not only drives engagement with the movie but also strengthens the bond with the Barbie brand, turning fans into lifelong advocates.

The word of mouth amongst people to go see the movie dressed in pink got attention on a global level. People were really dressed up, I saw a whole family – including the dad dressed in pink – entering the cinema room! On top of that, there were big doll boxes that appeared in many theatre houses, which gave people the possibility to be part of this dream world. A picture was taken and shared by many on their social media…and so the digital marketing campaign kept rolling!

Tip 5: Don’t start your marketing strategy thinking solely from your products, services, or goals. Think about how to involve your clients in your marketing campaigns and make your strategy come to life through empathetic co-creations. 

Implementing the 4 enablers in the CARE strategic framework helps you to actively start to CARE more for People and the Planet.

CARE is a winning strategy that helps you to become the best in the world, and best for the world!

Have a COOKIE, they are free and they will make your web experience taste sweet.
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