We’ve all seen the Barbie movie by now, right? Well, unless you’ve been living in a different land, you’ll certainly have come across their impressive marketing campaign in the last few months. You could barely turn a corner without seeing pink. 


The marketing department at Warner Bros have been working harder than ever to promote this plastic-fantastic film, and if the box office numbers are anything to go by, they’ve succeeded beyond belief. With a marketing budget of $150 million (£118 million), Barbie made $1.031 billion (£809 million) in the opening weekend, which has made history as the biggest opening weekend for a film directed by a woman. 


The success of the Barbie movie is a wonderful illustration of the value of inventiveness, savvy marketing, and the craft of bridging those with mass nostalgia from the 90s to the young women of today’s society.


So, what did they do right? In this blog, we’ve pulled together our favourite Barbie marketing stunts, looking at what went well and why. 


1. Barbie rents on AirBnb

Pink Barbie AirBnB

Fancy a sleepover at Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse? Well, with AirBnb you literally can. 

What was once a children’s toy was turned into a reality with AirBnb, as the brand gave a giant Malibu mansion a Barbie makeover to turn it into a modern-day Malibu Dreamhouse. The mansion caught the eye of the media across the world, and ended up on the screens of millions of people. Locals were snapping photos, people were travelling to see it and scrambling to book it out. 

This clever marketing was bringing Barbie into the real world – a brilliant reflection of the film itself. 


2. Barbie billboards 

Barbie Marketing Billboard

They say so much while saying so little. 

The colour and font themselves are iconic. So iconic, in fact, that nothing else is needed. With the hype of the film already taking over media, conversations, and cinemas, a pink billboard is all you need to get the message across. 

It’s genius! 


3. Margot Robbie’s Barbie wardrobe 

When a film is premiering, the events leading up to it are endless. The Barbie marketing team used this relentless parade of red carpets to channel the Barbie look on Barbie herself. 

At every event Margot attended, she was wearing an outfit fresh out of Barbie’s wardrobe. Whether it was the 1962 ‘Brunette Bubble Cut’ Barbie or the doll’s ‘Solo in the Spotlight’ look, Margot was rocking it. This got fans anticipating which outfits she would be wearing next, creating a buzz online and ongoing conversation. 

Even when travelling between events, Margot was dressed in pink or a Barbie inspired outfit, ready for the inevitable paparazzi that awaited her at the airport. 


4. Top-shelf collaborations

The best marketing should be enjoyable. And who doesn’t enjoy new clothes? 

Collaborations played a huge role in Barbie marketing. Fashion brands like Zara, ASOS, Primark and Crocs released Barbie inspired lines, SkinnyDip created sparkly pink phone cases, and NYX dropped a flawless makeup line. 

The high street became filled with pink and sparkles, as well as the people walking through it. Brands couldn’t get enough of the 90’s nostalgia that was suddenly being pumped back into popular clothing lines, and it worked a charm. 


5. Advertising of cast inclusivity 

The cast of the Barbie movie

The Barbie movie has not been quiet about their choice of cast, and rightly so. Gerwig’s film featured a variety of Barbie dolls rather than only the stereotypical white and blonde-haired 1950s Barbie. 

While running full steam ahead with their many fantastic marketing campaigns, the Barbie team were sure to clearly portray that the film will have characters from different backgrounds and ethnicities, as well as coming from different jobs. 

The purpose of this was likely to attract and relate to a large audience, providing a Barbie for nearly every minority group to ensure that every viewer could see themselves represented on the big screen. 

This unbiased presentation of Barbie was key to their marketing, and set the foundations for its success.


So, what can brands take away from Barbie’s marketing choices? 


Few companies in the field of contemporary marketing have been able to hold consumers’ attention for as long or as easily as The Barbie movie. The marketing started months before the film was released, and is still the talk of the town today. The iconic doll has not only found a place in innumerable playrooms but has also effectively entered the world of film production with ageless charm and versatility. 

And a lot of this success was down to the success of the marketing. 


So, what did they do right? 


First of all, they had a huge budget. This shouldn’t be ignored, as it isn’t feasible for most brands and sets an unrealistic precedent when comparing efforts to that of Barbie. 


But here are a few things you can do, that Barbie also did: 

  • Go multimedia. Don’t just stick to social media, utilise every avenue of marketing and then some – think outside the pink plastic box. 
  • Collaborate with relevant (and possibly irrelevant) brands. Open up your audience to that of someone else and create something unique. 
  • Be inclusive. All marketing should be inclusive in this day and age. Your audience wants to see themselves in your products and services, so show them that. 
  • Go big. 
  • Also go small and simple. 


Making the most of marketing with Octima 


At Octima, we’re passionate about all things marketing (pink or otherwise). If you’re looking to outsource your marketing to someone you can trust to bring your vision to life, then contact us today on 01202 022108.