Barbie Movie Magic: A Marketing Dream Come True

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Written by Content Manager Barbie: Siobhan Johansen

By now, we’re sure you’ve seen something about Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie. The promo leading up to the movie, which was released in theaters on July 21st with a record-breaking opening weekend of $155 million, was a whirlwind of brand collaborations, cast interviews, and fashion moments plucked from the toy shelves of our childhoods. And we loved every second of it. Read on to learn about how the “Barbie” movie marketing knocked it out of the park.

First let’s highlight the cast. Stacked with an amazing and diverse group of actors, including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Simu Liu, Ncutu Gatwa, Kate McKinnon, and Issa Rae, just to name a few. Honestly, with such a star-studded cast, a basic press tour could have been all the press that the movie would need, but, no, the marketing team went all out (with a rumored $150 million marketing budget). And we thank them for it. Because otherwise, we wouldn’t have some of the iconic collaborations and viral moments that we’ll touch on below.

Sometimes too many partnerships or movie tie-ins feel forced; everything “Barbie” is doing seems right. When we see the list of collaborations, it’s easy to think: “Of course, there should be a Barbie rug, a Barbie candle, a Barbie car in a racing game – and can’t forget about the Barbie rollerblades.” Barbie has held over 100 careers and many different accessories in her lifetime, so the collaborations naturally fit into the Barbie-verse. Barbie is so ubiquitous and has been so for so long, that this over-the-top-capitalism doesn’t feel icky. It just adds to the hype surrounding the movie. Let’s be honest, an Oppenheimer rug just wouldn’t have the same appeal.

The marketing team could have gone a stereotypical route and just partnered with clothing brands and beauty products, but instead really branched out into, seemingly, everything. Not only did they partner with Airbnb, but also with Progressive Insurance. And like most of the other partnerships, it’s easy to think, “Yes. This makes sense.” Barbie’s Dreamhouse and car are staple items in the Barbie-verse, so bringing these partnerships off the shelf and into the real world is a no-brainer. After all, the kids who were playing with these years ago are now all grown up and need insurance. 

Some other memeable, and memorable, moments we have to include:

  • One of the first set photos of Margot Robbie & Ryan Gosling in the iconic neon rollerblading outfits piqued the internet’s interest long before the rest of the promo began.
  • When the Barbie & Ken character headshots were released on social media on April 4, 2023, every brand jumped on the viral moment wagon and recreated them with their own twist.
  • Several scenes from the movie trailer alone were memed and GIFed extensively since it debuted on May 25, 2023.
  • All of Margot Robbie’s ah-mazing Barbie-inspired press and premiere looks. Including this absolute stunner from the London premiere.

It’s clear from these few examples (and all of the rest you’ve no doubt seen and enjoyed), this is an incredibly comprehensive marketing effort. Collaboration after collaboration after collaboration. Barbie fashion at every turn. Ryan Gosling being the most Ken to ever Ken. GIFs and memes galore. “Barbie” has certainly made her (signature pink) mark on the world.

At Spawn Ideas, we fuel the curious and wild in people by genuinely getting to know them. So, if your brand helps customers embrace adventure, travel and wellbeing, we’ll turn your reason to be into a reason to buy. Our staff works hard to live well in places like Denver, Colorado, and Anchorage, Alaska.

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