Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you will have encountered the buzz surrounding the release of the new Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

Since the emergence of those first viral photos in June 2022 – the duo decked out in fluoro pink and yellow, rollerblading the Venice Beach boardwalk – the anticipation has been immense ever since.

Since January 2023, close to half a million articles have been written about Barbie, 86,000 of which were published in the past month alone, according to MuckRack data. Of those articles, interestingly enough only 1.4% were about the Barbie movie trailer. The rest covered the creative PR efforts like partnerships, local events and celebrity buzz. So what has the marketing team been up to and why is it the talk of the town?

The Power of Pink Promo

Popping up on billboards is one of the most brand-confident adverts for a movie you’ll have seen. If a brand can be recognised for just one colour, then it’s at the top of its game.

In this case, this stands true for ‘Barbie Pink’, being the only asset needed for the audience to recognise the franchise. Minimalist in content, but maximalist in impact, paired with the release date, the marketers capitalised on the iconic colour to do all the talking. 

From physical to digital marketing, social media has been subject to its fair share of Barbie-mania too. Mattel (owners of Barbie) in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures have created a range of assets including teasers, character posters, a Barbie selfie generator, a TikTok lens extension and of course, an official Twitter emoji. Likely to tap into the Gen Z market, all in the hopes of creating socially shareable content.  

Barbie has also successfully tapped into meme culture and has seen more than 6 million social media engagements in the past six months [NewsWhip.]

Perfect Partnerships

However, the stand-out marketing wins for this movie are the brand partnerships. Avid viewers can grab themselves a pair of replica rollerblades from the movie, Xbox controllers, electric toothbrushes, makeup and more. 

Of course, no Barbie movie launch would be complete without special editions of the iconic doll. But they didn’t stop there…there is a life-size Barbie Dream House in Malibu offering two once in a lifetime opportunities for entrants to stay at the amazing abode for free via AirBnB.

While all of these promotional partnerships might seem like tactics to rake in as much money as possible, there are some wonderful charity initiatives being supported to coincide with messaging of the movie. 

Warner Bros. Discovery and Warner Bros. Pictures have announced the launch of a global girls’ empowerment initiative which would benefit the Save the Children charity. The Dream Gap Project sets out to level the playing field for girls around the world, helping them to reach their full potential. 

A Premiere to Paint the City Pink

Wednesday (12th July 2023) marked the London premiere of the movie in Leicester Square. However, the marketing didn’t stop there. The city was well and truly painted pink with multiple pop ups across the city from a pink Tardis near tower bridge, to parking Barbie’s pink corvette near the London Eye, renaming the Barbican underground station accordingly, and illuminating London’s iconic landmarks in pink for the night.

The marketing has been particularly clever here in the UK, capitalising on emblematically British landmarks and favourites such as the Doctor Who Tardis, but adding a little bit of Malibu flair – reinforcing its powerful brand recognition. 

With this masterclass in marketing, projections show the movie is likely to make between $80-100 million on opening weekend according to Deadline. That’s a GIANT thumbs up from us. 

If the film itself didn’t contribute to the global shortage of pink paint, its promo team certainly did..

This really is Barbie’s world and we’re just living in it. 

Words: Lucy Gray