Is Barbie an unlikely sell for a 2023 audience? Some might think so, considering the feminist and renewed values of the plot and screenplay aren’t obvious through the Barbie movie marketing strategy or casting choices. Nostalgic revivals can be risky, as they could risk reinvigorating outdated values with them.
After all, Barbie’s world centers around an impossibly beautiful, blonde white woman – can a franchise like this truly embody inclusivity, particularly when it has the casting to match. However, times have changed, and so has Barbie’s world – even if Barbie herself looks pretty similar.
The campaign surrounding the Barbie movie has been executed with finesse and a seemingly endless budget. The campaign is an epic lesson in the power of omni-channel marketing – the seamless integration of a range of mediums to convey a comprehensive and consistent campaign.
On the physical front, the Barbie brand’s iconic status is implied through plain, fuchsia pink billboards displaying only the release date in the ‘Barbie’ font. More elaborately, a partnership with Airbnb presents the Barbie Dream House – a custom built Malibu mansion, which was listed on the website. Local and social media moments are created by altering tube stop signs, with ‘Barbican’ becoming ‘Barbie Can’ and ‘Kennington’ becoming ‘Ken,’ making the global campaign feel local.
Physical, social-media primed marketing moments make a global campaign feel local.
The ‘Barbie dreamhouse’ in Malibu (Image Credit: Dezeen)
In the digital realm, Barbie opens her world to architectural digest, giving a tour of her Dream House, as part of the iconic AD ‘Open Door’ series. Social media filters on Instagram and TikTok let users transform themselves into Barbie-style avatars, further engaging the audience. The Barbie movie soundtrack dominates top Spotify playlists and the explore page, injecting the campaign into the world of audio, including trending sounds on TikTok.
Partnerships have played a significant role, too. From roller skates to Burger King, NYX, and Xbox, brands have flooded social media feeds with their Barbie collaborations. Unofficially affiliated brands have jumped in on the hype, creating a snowball effect of Barbie content, reaching an unprecedented range of demographics and industries.
NYX X Barbie Pop-Up, Covent Garden (Image Credit: Campaign)
Barbie partnerships: Burger King, Moon dentalcare, Impala skates (right to left)
This unlikely content for a 2023 audience demonstrates the power of world-building and storytelling as tools for persuasive marketing. The comprehensive, consistent, and multi-channel approach has ensured Barbie’s presence in every form of media. By the physical, digital and conceptual supporting each other, Barbie’s imagined world is cemented and convincing – an important lesson for brands considering their physical and digital strategies.
The Barbie movie marketing strategy has shown how omni-channel campaigns can bring a beloved, yet seemingly outdated brand back into the spotlight. Key themes of nostalgia, escapism, and frivolity resonate with contemporary audiences and show how the power of well executed world building and story telling can power virality for any brand.
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