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Marketing Insights from the Barbie Movie Phenomenon


Marketing Insights from the Barbie Movie Phenomenon

The Barbie movie has taken the world by storm. A marketing campaign turned into a pop culture movement influencing things like fashion, lifestyle, and entertainment. That’s just how well the marketing team at Warner Bros led by Josh Goldstine executed it.


The wave has gone way beyond the buyer’s persona which I bet would be a posh life-loving millennial or Gen Z lady. Now 40 year old males have to deal with the constant “Am a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world” jingles in their heads. The Barbie world lives in our heads rent-free.


What made this campaign stand out, you ask? Well, while we can’t overlook the fact that the team spent a whopping $150 million on the campaign, we have to give it to the executing team. The movie production budget of $145 million was 5 million less than the marketing budget. It has grossed 1 Billion in ticket sale revenue as of 6th August 2023.


Most people would be quick to fault this but the movie grossed $150 M on its debut in the US and $337 million globally, a record in Box Office post-pandemic releases. Here are some of the winning strategies the Barbie Movie marketing team used.

Strategic Brand Collaborations

Everyone wants to ride on the pink wave. From Airbnb collaborating on barbie-themed mansions, to ‘barbie-core’ fashion collections from  Zara, GAP, Beis, Boohoo, Aldo, and Crocs, and a pink Burger King burger in Brazil! It was an unforgettable Barbie summer as brands leveraged the buzz to collaborate with Mattel and the Barbie movie. 

These strategic collaborations created earned media attention around the marketing campaign. The most notable brand collaborations are, however, the music artists. From Dua Lipa to the barbz leader Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice, not forgetting Billie Eilish, the music stars helped turn this into a pop culture craze with their hits.

Interactive Digital Marketing

The Barbie marketing team has been ruling on Social and Web. The impressive social media strategy which saw the Barbie account post a poster of the actors before each actor did the same on their handles was genius. It created a frenzy where people on social media started creating meme versions of these posters with other entertainers.

Barbie capitalized on this and released the Barbie AI selfie generator on the Barbie website where users could Photoshop themselves on Barbie posters just like Margot Roby and Ryan Gosling. The SEO game was on another level, just search Barbie on Google and see how the screen lights up with pink, and of course, the movie ranks first in results. Don’t get me started on the Barbie UGC on TikTok and Instagram. Some Kenyan celebrities like Mammito jumped on the train too.

Pre Launch Teasers

If there’s something this team showed us, it’s the power of seductive curiosity. Barbie shared the first teaser at CinemaCon 2022 announcing the release date using a simple Margot Robby in a Corvette photo. Other snippets of the shoot in London featuring the lead actors and the teasers from musicians like a dolled-up Billie Eilish got everyone curious about what was cooking. The movie trailer was quite something out of the ordinary changing the perspective of any critiques. A Barbie team on rollerskates was also teased during the New York pride festival.

Immersive OOH( Out of Home Advertising)

These are not just your ordinary billboards, oh no. Barbie was bold and made a statement with plain pink billboards. No pics, no words, just pink! 

The 3D Barbie CGI ad which was almost as tall as the Burj Al Khalifa on which it stood next, made waves. The video garnered over 3.5 million views on Instagram alone. The best way to tell Barbie ‘Welcome to Dubai Habibi!’

Some of these marketing trends are hot in the Kenyan market. Influencer marketing and immersive digital marketing are top on the list. The Barbie marketing campaign sheds more light on what channels marketers need to pay attention to. Learn more about building effective marketing campaigns in our upcoming IBC course starting on August 15th.


So many highlights but these stood out for us. Definitely a marketing masterclass we hope to discuss further in the future! A culture-defining marketing campaign! Let us know what excited or caught your attention in the comment section below

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