Barbie - A Marketing Titan!

5 Sep '23

Barbie - A Marketing Titan!

Barbie - A Marketing Titan!

For this month only, we're bringing you a special edition of our Marketing Mix because we had just too much to share with you about this colossal marketing effort!

If you haven’t heard of the phenomenon that is, Barbie the Movie, you are missing a groundbreaking example of how strategic partnerships, extensive merchandising, and creative marketing can redefine brand success and captivate audiences of all ages.

“To live in Barbie Land is to be a perfect being in a perfect place. Unless you have a full-on existential crisis. Or you’re a Ken.”

This cinematic venture not only rejuvenated the iconic Barbie brand. It showcased the power of storytelling and inclusivity by creating an unforgettable experience. With its remarkable achievements and lessons for businesses and marketers, Barbie the Movie sets a new standard for what's possible in brand marketing, leaving a lasting impact on the entertainment and toy industry alike. The movie and it’s marketing have captured the hearts, imagination, and wallets of audiences world-wide.

In 2023, Mattel, the toy company and brand owner of the iconic doll, Barbie, faced challenges in a competitive and crowded market, however Mattel's savvy strategy to license Barbie's recognizable IP and to form strategic partnerships that will likely result in huge profits for Mattel.  

To rejuvenate its brand presence, Mattel partnered with Warner Bros. to release the highly anticipated Barbie movie on July 21, 2023 . The movie promised a fresh take on the iconic doll, featuring a compelling storyline and modern themes to resonate with today’s audiences.

The film's release was accompanied by an expansive marketing campaign and merchandising range, capitalising on its characters and storyline to create tie-in products that captured the hearts of audiences world-wide. It’s also been a game changing move for company profits.

The Barbie movie's ubiquitous marketing campaign, reportedly cost almost as much as the movie to produce, and was further enhanced by the prominent use of the brand's signature colour scheme: pink. Leading up to the premiere, the colour pink was used extensively in promotional materials, across marketing platforms, and even in partnership with other companies. Notably, Google incorporated shades of pink into its search engine in support of the movie's release, amplifying its visibility and impact.

The movie's success surpassed all projections, grossing an impressive $155USD million during its opening weekend domestically and an additional $182USD million internationally. This triumph contributed to a significant surge in Mattel's stock value, signalling renewed investor confidence and validating the effectiveness of the marketing campaign.

Furthermore, the Barbie movie unexpectedly found a substantial audience among adults, appealing not only to children but also to nostalgic adults who had grown up with the iconic doll. This unforeseen adult appeal expanded the merchandising opportunities for Mattel, as older audiences showed interest in tie-in products and memorabilia.

The success of the Barbie movie highlighted the power of brand nostalgia, effective audience segmentation, cross-platform promotion, inclusivity in storytelling, collaboration with influencers and partners, emphasising female leadership, prioritizing storytelling, and data-driven decision-making in marketing strategies.

The strategic partnership between Mattel and Warner Bros., along with the success of the Barbie movie, redefined brand marketing for Mattel and opened new horizons for the company in the ever-evolving toy industry. The extensive merchandising range, combined with the dominant use of the colour pink in promotional efforts, played a crucial role in the film's triumph, showcasing valuable lessons for businesses aiming to achieve greater brand impact and success.

For a SME business, the success story of the Barbie movie and its marketing approach, particularly the utilisation of affiliate marketing, offers valuable insights and opportunities to consider. Here's some ways you can potentially adopt some of these strategies:

  1. Leveraging Partnerships: The partnership between Mattel and Warner Bros. was a crucial aspect of the Barbie movie's success. Similarly, a local business can explore strategic partnerships with other relevant local businesses, influencers, or content creators to expand their reach and tap into new audiences. Affiliate marketing can be an effective way to form such partnerships, where the business can collaborate with affiliates who promote their products or services in exchange for a commission on sales or leads generated.
  2. Leveraging Cross-Platform Promotion: Mattel maximised the impact of its marketing efforts by employing cross-platform promotion. Businesses can learn to integrate their campaigns across various channels, such as social media, television, print, and online advertising, to reach a wider audience and reinforce their brand message.
  3. Expansive Merchandising: The Barbie movie's extensive merchandising range demonstrated the potential of tie-in products to generate additional revenue streams. A local business can consider creating complementary merchandise or collaborating with other local businesses to create co-branded products that align with their brand and target audience. This can help increase brand visibility, attract new customers, and create a sense of excitement and anticipation.
  4. Creative Use of Brand Identity: The dominant use of the colour pink in the Barbie movie's marketing campaign is an example of creative brand identity promotion. A local business can also use its unique brand colours, logo, and imagery consistently across marketing materials, websites, and social media platforms to establish a recognisable and memorable brand identity.
  5. Inclusivity and Storytelling as a Central Element: The Barbie movie's emphasis on inclusivity and empowering storytelling resonated with audiences by creating narratives that connect emotionally with consumers and elevate their brand message.
  6. Data-Driven Decisions: The success of the Barbie movie was attributed to data analysis and performance tracking to optimise strategies. A local business can also use data analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and track campaign performance. This data-driven approach allows the business to make informed decisions and refine their marketing efforts for better results.
  7. Affiliate Marketing Opportunities: Affiliate marketing can be a valuable opportunity for a local business to expand its reach and drive sales. By setting up an affiliate program, the business can partner with influencers, bloggers, or content creators in their niche who can promote their products or services to their respective audiences. The affiliates earn commissions for driving traffic or generating sales, providing a cost-effective way for the business to reach new customers.
  8. Emphasising Local Appeal: While the Barbie movie had a global appeal, a local business can focus on appealing to its local community and highlighting the unique aspects of its products or services that cater specifically to the needs of the local market. This local-centric approach can foster a sense of loyalty and support from the community.

Incorporating some of these strategies into your marketing approach, local businesses can potentially boost brand awareness, attract new customers, and enhance overall success in the local market. However, it is essential for the business to carefully evaluate its target audience, industry, and resources before implementing any marketing strategy to ensure the best possible outcomes.

If you want to make your brand reach new heights? Talk to our 2 Creative Media team.