By now, you’ve likely heard buzz about the new live-action musical, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, Barbie. The movie landed in theatres on July 21st, just in time to make a splash during summer. Promotion for the movie is flooding nearly every communication channel, and that’s the point. Whether you’re a Barbie fan or not, it’s been hard to miss the unique billboards across the country that are the signature Barbie pink and release date, the unique social posts in your feeds, the traditional media collaborations, or the brand partnerships. The campaign extends well beyond just the film into the Barbie brand itself.
Here are just a few of the branding strategies that the Barbie Communications team nailed:
When you think Barbie, you may think pink, blonde, and heels. And that is precisely what was promoted. This campaign consistently used Barbie’s signature hot pink and the Barbie logo wherever possible (no really, if you google Barbie Movie the page turns pink and sparkles). This stays authentic to the original Barbie that generations grew up with but also makes the brand memorable to those who may be new to Barbie.
If you think you’ve seen various Barbie-themed products advertised across your feed, you’re not imagining things. There are over 100 Barbie partnerships to shop from right now. Barbie’s brand visibility is through the roof with collaborations such as Ruggable, Microsoft’s Xbox, and popular shoe brand Aldo, to name just a few. These partnerships put the brand before consumers who may not have been reached otherwise. The limited-edition products also instill a sense of urgency for consumers to purchase the products while the film is hot on the market. With brand partnerships, also come influencer reviews of the products. For example, a lifestyle influencer I follow on TikTok, Autumn Gruber, posted about the Moon X Barbie collaboration (which is almost completely sold out) and how much she loves the products. Not only did I learn about the Moon brand, but I also learned about the Barbie movie from her product review.
Utilization of User-Generated Content
User-generated content (also known as UGC) is content that is specific to a brand but created and posted by the consumer. What’s great about UGC is that consumers can feel like they’re interacting with a brand and in return, the brand gets mentioned in a new social media post without having to do any work. Originally, the movie used a repeated poster template to unveil the cast of the film. After the entire star-studded cast was revealed, a website to create your own Barbie poster went live. This site utilizes AI to take a selfie and insert it into the poster. On this poster, users can insert their own “This Barbie is a _________.” While this has resulted in some predictable memes, the poster was still a success as social media users everywhere have participated in the viral trend. Brands such as Disney, The Today Show, and The Jonas Brothers have even used the poster. Here’s mine:
I personally wasn’t planning to see the movie, but after consuming all the Barbie promos, I became curious about what the movie’s plot might be (turns out, the movie is supposed to have a feministic narrative as it’s directed by Greta Gerwig). Now, I am waiting patiently for the movie to reach streaming services – and that is the direct result of a successful branding campaign. Overall, this campaign did three things exceptionally well: consistent and authentic imagery and messaging, creative partnerships that reach mass audiences, and a UGC social takeover. So, are you convinced to step into the Barbie universe?