“Hey, Barbie, let’s take over the film industry!”
Based on Mattel’s iconic doll franchise, director Greta Gerwig’s newest film, Barbie, will be released on July 21st, and it’s the summer of ‘23 film sensation. With the film popping up in numerous publications and on social media, it feels like everyone is talking about it! Barbie is studded with stars including Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon, and more – but that isn’t the only reason everyone is obsessed with it. The marketing of the Barbie movie was expertly executed to reach a variety of audiences, create viral moments, and showcase the unique quirky vibe of the film. Here’s a look at five ingenious PR moves:
1. Barbie Dreamhouse Feature in Architectural Digest
Barbie’s pink Dreamhouse is an essential part of her character, so naturally, this ridiculously fun, life-sized film set draws interest. Barbie was featured in Architectural Digest with a Dreamhouse tour hosted by Margot Robbie herself, and an article for the print and digital magazine. Architectural Digest (AD) dives into the details with Director Gerwig, set designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer. The story highlights the Palm Springs 1940s mid-century modern style and inspiration from famous designers such as Richard Neutra that speak to the sophistication of this project, impressing AD readers. Simultaneously appealing to a mass audience, the story mentions playful elements; the swirling pool slide, heart-shaped sequin bed, and unrealistically low ceilings that give the home a youthful effect. Putting the movie before the readers and followers of AD in a lighthearted yet design-centric manner was a fantastic way to broaden interest among a new audience.
2. Viral Social Media Trend
Of course, social media is a must. Practically every film, brand, and business uses social media to connect with its audience, but few are as strategic as Barbie. In April, @theBarbiemovie posted a carousel featuring characters from the upcoming film. Each picture follows the same format: a glittery background, character name, and quirky tagline unique to their personalities. Fans flocked to social media to create and share their own posts using this template. The M3GAN film, Today Show hosts, McDonald’s India, Halle Berry, and other celebs and brands shared their own Barbie pics. Brands often create campaigns to encourage user-generated content but lack the enthusiasm Barbie has attained. Barbie crafted a trend that social media users want to participate in because it is quick, simple, and personalized. This campaign offered consumers the opportunity to showcase their own personalities to their networks in a clever way, and they jumped at the opportunity! Lesson learned for our social media strategists out there.
3. West Hollywood Pride Promotion
The Queer community has rallied around the Barbie movie, celebrating the camp aesthetic and many LGBTQ+ actors cast in the film. Barbie catered to this audience in an incredible way by attending the June West Hollywood Pride parade. A few stars from the film showed up on a fuchsia float decorated to the nines with disco balls, baskets of Barbie and pride flags. They even partnered with drag queen Lolita Colby and Queer internet personality Jazzmyne Jay by including them on the float. Barbie’s participation in the parade was well received; it was authentic to the brand and highlighted creators in the LBGTQ+ community.
4. Fab Merchandising
Many films have merchandise, but few do it like Barbie. Barbie herself would never settle for just a basic t-shirt/hat sale. The film has partnered with a number of retailers, reaching virtually every age group and price range. Everyone can be included in sporting the fun brand. A few favorites are the Barbie Dreamhouse MEGA building kit, Barbie X Vooray gym bag and fanny pack, Barbie X Alamo Drafthouse lunchbox, and Barbie X Bloomingdales collection with chic mini dresses and neon roller skates.
5. Early Access Premieres
As anticipation builds, Barbie recently announced they are offering early screening tickets at select theaters across the US. Titled “Barbie Blowout Party”, this promotion allows a lucky few to watch the movie two days before the national release. This simple, yet effective, promotion serves loyal fans and creates momentum at the box office for the film. A limited early release is an excellent strategy for increasing urgency and novelty.
With so many promotions, one might worry Barbie is oversaturating the market. In the current digital age, many trends spoil like milk. But, each of Barbie’s executions are purposeful and authentic to the original Mattel brand personality. Audiences have embraced the Barbie movie take over, and are anxiously wanting more. In her hot pink high heels, Barbie is marching strong to the finish line release date.