Barbie The Movie: 4 Innovative Marketing Lessons to Learn From This Brand

“I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world!”

That song has been on the lips of many at one point or another, sometimes coming to mind at the most unexpected moments. Although an old-time favourite for many, the song has made a comeback these past few weeks. This is due to the making of the Barbie Movie, which was released yesterday.

This week, you may have seen more pink around than you’re used to or would like, especially online. From pink dresses and fascinators to trending Barbie audio sounds, social media especially has been rife with Barbie-mania, undoubtedly attracting the interest of many.

The first catchy thing I saw about this campaign was the main actor, Margot Robbie’s, successful recreation of the Barbie character’s wardrobe. She revived the classic Barbie looks, giving them a little twist to reflect her personality. After that, I read more about the movie and was honestly impressed with the planning and effort that has gone into the marketing campaign. They even have a dedicated Instagram page with 1.3 million followers! Their consistency has a few gems any branding and marketing enthusiast will surely be interested in, some of which I’ll highlight below.

Leverage the power of content

Consistent content has great potential to go viral, and the Barbie marketing team explored and executed this perfectly. Using simplicity and creativity, they have successfully ensured that their content has stood out. They have strategically built a buzz around their content, making it shareable and catchy enough that countless people have jumped on the trend in one way or another.

Suppose you’ve ever owned a Barbie doll or come across one. In that case, the Barbie Movie’s strategic marketing campaign may have undoubtedly unleashed a sense of nostalgia. As a result, you’re more likely to share the content with others to relive the memories. How can a marketer learn from this?

Content shouldn’t only be content for content’s sake; it must be engaging, roping your audience into what you’re speaking about. You may not always yield instant results, but consistency and embracing innovation will eventually prove beneficial in the long run. Doing this also makes it easier to get user-generated content. That is because more people will likely join the bandwagon by creating content related to your brand. Consequently, more people get to know about you and what you offer.

Also, don’t be afraid to encourage comments and make your content as shareable as possible. Aside from encouraging comments, you can go the extra mile by promptly responding, as it shows that you’re a relatable brand. It can also give you an avenue to explore your creativity.

For instance, sometimes, when there’s a post on the Barbie movie page, the actual Barbie page, which has 3M followers, responds in the comment section with catchy phrases such as “Hi Barbie, Hi Ken,” making the brand sound more human and opening the avenue for fans to also engage.

Even a few seconds of engaging content can go a long way. And building a strong sense of community around your product or service can work wonders.

Identify momentum and plug in…or build it yourself

Sometimes, you may have a great product or service, but the timing may be wrong. In launching a successful campaign, timing is everything. The Barbie Movie’s marketing team expertly leveraged this by hosting major and small-scale strategic launches and built their campaign around those to gather momentum for the movie. They already had a great opportunity to fill a gap of being a potential post-pandemic Hollywood blockbuster, and they certainly made the most of it.

Constantly looking for gaps can help you find the right momentum and build anticipation around your product or service. A great example that comes to mind in this regard is that of a young boy, Oswald Gennuh. He wrote a letter to his mum requesting items for his end-of-term school party in 2021, popularly known as ‘Our Day.’ This list went viral, and before long, brands had hopped on, offering to freely provide some of the items he had asked for to make his day more special. That included popular musician Kidi, who offered to perform at the boy’s school for free. For the brands that plugged into this momentum, some managed to catch the attention of potential customers who were following the Oswald story and who may have otherwise not have heard about the brand in the first place.

However, the Barbie Movie campaign also proves that if you can’t find momentum, you can create it yourself.

Successfully achieving this requires a lot of research. What are the latest trends, and how can you use them as a brand? However, remember that in trying to identify momentum, not every trend may necessarily be ideal for your brand. But if it’s in line with your values, vision, and brand personality, by all means, go for it and build a gripping narrative around it. It’s a great way to create a peak moment for your product or service and build anticipation. You can get creative by building a sense of mystery around your campaign. This way, your target audience will want to know more. The Barbie Movie successfully does this by dropping brief snippets of part of the movie. As a result, their target audience marked their calendars for the actual release date, which was yesterday. Have you watched it yet, and what are your thoughts?

Get your audience segmentation right

You would have thought Barbie would only appeal to younger people. However, research shows that the Barbie movie has also won the hearts of mainly middle-aged people. One could have easily also assumed that only women would be interested in the movie. But surprisingly, it has caught the attention of men as well. The campaign was tailored to speak clearly to their desired target audience, creating more buzz around the movie.

Researching your target audience is essential to properly segment them and get your communications right. This way, you won’t create content your intended demographic can’t relate to. You’ll put in all the effort but not yield any results because you’re communicating with the wrong audience. Suppose you’re organising an event targeted at the Diaspora, but you’re not well-informed about your market segments. You may spend so much money on paid marketing efforts such as boosting your posts. But you may yield no results because you didn’t select the right target audience.

Determining the key segments within your target market allows you to develop personalised and effective marketing campaigns. This way, you’ll deliver great content to the right people at the right time and avoid wasting resources.

Explore partnerships

There are so many beautiful quotes on partnerships, including Helen Keller’s “Alone we can do so little; together we can do much,” and Mother Teresa’s “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

Partnerships can be beneficial in many ways when done right. And the Barbie movie has successfully explored and executed this. They have partnered with several brands, ranging from clothing to haircare companies and even food! Burger King had a pink burger and Crocs incorporated all things Barbie into one of their designs. UNO also has cards boldly designed with Barbie characters. At this point, you’re likely to bump into something related to Barbie, even if you’re not interested in it. Frankly, when one of my colleagues came to work today in a pink shirt, I thought, “Barbie must really be working her magic this week!”

To make the most of partnerships, you must identify which ones work best for you. That may include partnering with influencers or brands that share your values. Sometimes they don’t necessarily even need to be in the same industry as you. A great example is Uber and Spotify, with their “Soundtrack for Your Ride” campaign. Ride-hailing app, Uber, partnered with music streaming app, Spotify, to make it possible for people to create a Spotify playlist while waiting for their Uber. This way, they could listen to their favourite tunes during their ride. This co-branding partnership was between two different products with similar goals to attract more users, and it was quite successful.


With research revealing that about 58 million households own a Barbie doll, that number may go up as the fresh nostalgia returns. And the Barbie movie has successfully placed itself in the hearts of many, alongside other movies released this week, including Oppenheimer. Even if you’re not a Barbie fan, you can learn a few things from this classic marketing strategy. Hopefully, the movie lives up to the hype!


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