Think Pink: The Genius Behind the Barbie Movie’s Marketing Plan
By Olivia Shrager
This summer, the Barbie movie has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, attracting people of all ages to see Margot Robbie play Barbie in this delightfully colorful film. It has become more than just a movie; it is a cultural phenomenon. The success of the Barbie movies can be attributed to several factors, but one stands out as the driving force behind its popularity: the genius marketing plan.
Barbie has always been synonymous with pink, and the marketing team leveraged this to create a campaign that captured attention everywhere. It was virtually impossible to escape the storm of pink food, clothing, and advertisements that drenched cities across the US in shades of magenta. The movie’s advertisement campaign even potentially contributed to a nationwide shortage of the color pink, as every product related to the movie seemed to be doused in various shades of the iconic hue.
Additionally, their brand partnerships extended beyond just merchandise. For example, the collaboration with Airbnb for Barbie's Malibu Dream House brought the iconic doll's dream home to life while also making references to the film by calling it “Ken’s Dojo Mojo Casa House.” By allowing fans to immerse themselves in Barbie world firsthand, Barbie-lovers could establish a real-life connection to the movie setting.
Author's note: Even I tried to book the Barbie Airbnb for a night, but it sold out right away!
The Barbie team even set up a Barbie boat cruise on Boston Harbor and set up local collaborations with restaurants to sell all-pink dishes. At the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles, fans (myself included) lined up in their bubblegum attire to try pink hummus and pink lattes at Cafe Landwer.
Much of this success can be attributed to Warner Bros. president of global marketing, Josh Goldstine. In an interview with Variety, Goldstine explained, “Barbie Pink has been such a part of the brand. This movie has a wonderful girl-power element, and pink became the color of the movie. We saw it start to resonate in the culture very early in the long process. The concept of Barbie-core coming to life in fashion kept going.”
He went on to explain that the marketing budget was not as big as some might think, for the allure of the pink began to “take on a life of its own.”
By tapping into the power of the pink, and nostalgia and the allure of Barbie's world with interactive experiences, the Barbie film successfully gained traction with its existing fan base and a new generation of fans. By creating real-world experiences and partnering with different brands, the Barbie movie became more than just a cinematic delight; it became a lifestyle and a statement. It’s safe to say that the popularity of the movie has cemented Barbie's position as an enduring cultural icon.