The much-awaited Barbie movie is finally hitting cinemas today, and cinema-goers all over the world are gearing up for bottomless brunches and parties on the release day. The marketing campaign has done an incredible job at hyping up its audience for the release, and in numerous ways. 

Undoubtedly, there is star power behind this release—aside from the Barbie name being a cultural marker of its own, stars such as Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and Dua Lipa have been heavily involved in the global marketing campaign effort. However, it’s not just the star power and the merchandise that have made this film a buzzworthy event. It’s the ingenious marketing campaign orchestrated by Mattel that has put Barbie in the spotlight like never before. 

Here are a few lessons small businesses can learn from the Barbie marketing campaign.

Collaborate, and encourage user-generated content

User-generated content and use of influencers may not be applicable to every campaign, but if it is, it’s an incredibly powerful tool. Barbie’s marketing campaign allowed fans to edit themselves into the movie posters, encouraging user-generated content that has run rampant on social media. This tactic not only fuelled the buzz around the movie but also created a sense of ownership and participation among the audience. 

Going hand-in-hand with this initiative is the idea that the Barbie movie marketing team has actually done their job so well, they may be doing the marketing for Oppenheimer at the same time, too. Releasing on the same day, Oppenheimer has the opposite theme to Barbie, both stylistically and plot wise, and isn’t from the same studio or producers either. The ‘Barbenheimer’ trend online emerged of its own volition, but stars of both blockbusters have fed into the hype, only boosting the excitement and chatter around it further.  

Once consumers got a hold of the idea of the ‘Barbie-Oppenheimer double bill’, this trend took on a life of its own. Edited posters and memes capitalising on the polarity between these two films has been spread online, catapulting both films to be the most talked-about of the summer – Cineworld has reported its highest weekend for ticket sales since Avengers: Endgame. It’s proved an idea that isn’t new in marketing, but always works—everyone loves a team-up. If you can realistically team up with another brand, then go for it—it will help both of you!

Leave no stone unturned

Behind the scenes, the marketing team spent years planning and executing deals, ensuring they were selective in their partnerships. This level of strategic planning and attention to detail set the stage for a well-coordinated marketing blitz that kept Barbie in the limelight for an extended period. 

The lesson here is: you want to make a splash with something, don’t be afraid to go all out. From pink Google results to a Barbie Burger King, a pink Xbox console a full-on hotel makeover, even an Underground station rebrand and and furnishing a whole Barbie DreamHouse in malibu for Airbnb, the Barbie marketing campaign team has reached into every corner of the world and the consumer landscape to spread the Barbie branding as much as possible. So much so that jokes about the marketing budget have become the subject of a meme on social media. 

Of course, you won’t be working with the same sort of budget for your campaign. But it proves the value of allotting a big budget spend to marketing a product—and if you don’t have much to work with, then to do as much as you can with what you have to get word out there. By dominating the urban landscape with eye-catching pink visuals, the Barbie branding team created an omnipresence for Barbie, generating immense curiosity and excitement around the movie—it’s not impossible to do the same for your brand too, on a scale related to your industry or audience.

Learn more from the experts

The Barbie marketing campaign offers valuable lessons for businesses in the art of creating a compelling and memorable brand experience. By going beyond traditional promotion and embracing a holistic approach that immerses the audience into the brand’s lifestyle, businesses can create a lasting impact like the hype we’ve seen around the Barbie release. 

There’s much more to consider than just collaboration and marketing outreach when it comes to a major launch or campaign, though—we know all about that. Get in touch with us to learn about what we can help you do if you’re looking to make a splash, even with a small budget. Let’s go party!

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Katie Sessions Account Executive
At Faith, Katie is responsible for helping to manage client accounts and deliver communications plans, alongside continuing to craft compelling stories that resonate with audiences.