By Julian Cannon, due out in 4 minutes on July 14, 2023


Online marketers for brands like Bloomingdale’s and Gap, to mention a few, have really utilised Barbie’s tradition copyright as a marketing technique to generate awareness not only for the film but for their numerous products prior to the July 21 debut of the Warner Bros. Barbie movie. Therefore, from Burger King’s pink burger to Ruggable’s limited edition carpet, the “Barbiecore” aesthetic, characterised by a pastel pink plastic tone, is pervasive.

Some may consider the proliferation of marketing partnerships as oversaturation, but internet marketers are certain that the many tie-in product launches and marketing projects will generate a positive return on investment for the Mattel brand and its brand partners.

Despite the extensive advertising, some have doubts about whether or not the Barbie brand as a whole will benefit from the increased exposure. Others wonder if Barbie is the standard or the exception in terms of how Hollywood IP movies establish their marketing collaborations.

“It does feel oversaturated in the sense that they’ve extended a lot into every possible item you can consider,” said Sarah Engel, head of marketing firm January Digital. It’s literally everywhere; every shelf has it.

Marketers and analysts agree that consumers, especially those exposed to a massive brand like Mattel, will become desensitised to Hollywood intellectual property marketing.

According to Sparks & & Honey’s director of cultural method Dani Thibodeau, the brand’s nostalgic appeal makes it a safe bet for online marketers. She cites Barbie’s partnership with Airbnb as an encouraging example of how the brand can be used to create a positive consumer experience. Instead, she recalled disparate examples like Progressive Insurance and Lipton that don’t relate to the product or its target market.

That “not every brand name has a right to play in this area to the Barbie film,” she said. To paraphrase, “[t]he cultural minute of [any] brand name is not [their] cultural minute.”

Engel cited Mattel’s licencing and collaborations as a motivating factor for the brand’s popularity among digital marketers. It’s a unique compliment to Barbie that might work for any movie. Companies have developed marketing strategies to appeal to consumers who have strong feelings for or against Barbie.

“The marketing approach needed to have every potential touchpoint,” said Engel. “This was not going to be a case where you’re thinking, ‘we’re simply going to tackle this the normal way and we’re going to expect individuals to see the caravan when we put it out.

Snack Content, a data intelligence platform, reports that since 2015, the number of talks of Barbie on TikTok has climbed 191%, from 80% on YouTube, and that videos including the hashtag #Barbie have been viewed more than 9 billion times. The #Barbie hashtag was used 145% more on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels in the first half of this year than it was in all of 2015.

The social media campaign has certainly done more than just boost usage; it has also likely boosted curiosity in the film. Two-thirds of Gen Z and millennials who expressed interest in seeing Barbie in theatres said its memes were among the considerations, according to UTA IQ’s Quarterly Report, which analysed data, research, and digital approach.

Customers have seen a movie because of a post by an influencer and or digital developer, Engel added, therefore influencer collaborations are an important strategy for content marketing. She used the example of fashion influencer Alix Earle (5.5 million fans), who released content on the day of the Los Angeles premiere to an audience of over 2.5 million.

Marketers recalled that other traditional properties, such Super Mario Bros., Nike, and Hot Cheetos, all had films released earlier this year, but that none had the same kind of promotion as Barbie. Because those other brands may be pickier about the partners it works with and accredits, they may not have been able to go above and beyond a standard push. Ali Fazal, v.p. of marketing at influencer marketing platform Grin, has said that Nintendo blew it by not attempting to do the same, but that this is risky because brands want a return on investment and not all brands want to risk joining a trend or influencer project that could damage their image.

“There is this degree of severe control that they wish to have more than the brand name and in the present environment, it’s simply ineffective,” said Ali of Nintendo. “The way that people take in media today is so dispersed and diffused that keeping really strong control over your brand image and your brand tradition simply makes it really hard for sufficient people to become aware of your work,” says media critic Jay Rosen.

Prophet’s head of practises, Eunice Shin, warns that exploiting a brand’s copyright could pose a threat and predicts that the saturation of Barbie’s marketing project will cause a major shift in the marketing market if studios choose to take advantage of it. She believes that other brands will take notice of the massive marketing drive based on Barbie’s box office and social media success and attempt something similar.

“Hey, if we’re here, we’re reaching audiences with these special brand name cooperations and we’re going to be able to reach the masses,” she said of why companies choose specific venues. In today’s world, this kind of mass communication is essential.