I’m not a huge movie buff. It’s been at least a year since I’ve been in a movie theater. But one movie that I can’t wait to see? Barbie.
It’s not the movie’s content or cast that’s drawing me in. It’s their marketing. In fact, 6 months ago, I wasn’t at all interested. Here’s how they got me.
Barbie’s Meme House
The craze all started for me (and many others) in early April when @barbiethemovie and @barbie launched a series of snarky Instagram posts introducing the cast. The irreverent posts dubbed Barbie and her friends as doctors, Nobel prize winners, Supreme Court justices, and meanwhile, Ken is described as, just, well, Ken.
The posts’ success led to an immediate meme-frenzy, where users began creating their own versions featuring themselves and their friends. Even if you missed the official promotional launch, you knew this would be a spoof.
Barbie (and Ken) created buzz for the movie by offering up a stay at her Malibu DreamHouse in partnership with AirBnb. The move stirred up tons of press and spiked Google searches for “Barbie dream house”.
The OG Influencer
Barbie has been a trendsetter for decades, but in 2023, influencing the influencers is still quite a feat. The movie has officially partnered with multiple influencers and garnered even more free promotion once the buzz took off.
In addition to enchanting social media influencers, Barbie’s iconic style also made its way into Margot Robbie’s wardrobe — which, you guessed it — garnered lots of press.
The New Word of Mouth
Word of mouth has always been one of the most valuable marketing tactics. On TikTok, Barbie picked up viral cred when users began trying the Barbie Filter — an AI effect that scans your face and shows what you would look like in plastic. As of this writing, the filter has been used in more than 6 million videos.
But get this: from what we can tell, the filter wasn’t even created by Barbie’s marketing team, but by TikTok user @godspeed_391.
Barbie 🤝 Partnerships
While I’ve read marketers’ takes that the efforts have reached the point of oversaturation, I disagree. We know that it takes audiences 7 interactions with a brand message before they take action. As marketers, we may feel like we can’t escape it, but we’re not the average consumer (and frequency bias is a real thing!).
As marketers, we may feel like we can’t escape it, but we’re not the average consumer (and frequency bias is a real thing!).
In this marketer’s opinion, the success of the Barbie movie’s marketing efforts comes down to two things:
- Brand Voice & Style
- Creative Thinking
Part of this campaign’s success is that Barbie is an established brand, with excellent recognition. But sticking to the brand style of all-pink everything and aligning their voice with the snarky tone of the film has both played off of that recognition and surprised audiences (pleasantly, in my case).
The other win here? Creative tactics. I love seeing Hollywood think outside the box of movie trailers. Social media, ingenious PR, partnerships galore — Barbie’s really outdone herself.
Catch me in theaters on Friday, waiting with bated breath to see if box office numbers deliver ROI. ✨
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