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    Lights, Camera, Barbie! 5 Out-of-the-Box Brand Marketing Strategies From the Barbie Movie

    July 27, 2023
    15 minute read
    Lights, Camera, Barbie! 5 Out-of-the-Box Brand Marketing Strategies From the Barbie Movie

    Barbie’s been a household name since her debut on March 9, 1959. That’s 65 years of the Barbie doll.

    To put this timeline in perspective: The first Barbie Dreamhouse was unveiled in 1962. Astronaut Barbie beat Neil Armstrong to the moon by four years in 1965. CEO Barbie broke the glass ceiling in 1985. She ran for president in 1992. She released her first vlog in 2015, according to Barbie Media.

    Barbie has had an astronomical number of careers and makeovers, but she’s remained a cultural touchstone. Her societal impact is evident with the release of the “Barbie” movie.

    To promote the movie, Barbie’s parent company Mattel partnered with over 100 brands and retailers across all different verticals. The brand intends to grow the Barbie audience, reports Business of Fashion.

    These partnerships have produced some truly remarkable, unexpected marketing strategies. You can wear Barbie-branded clothes, play with Barbie dolls, decorate with a Barbie rug, Barbie-fy yourself, interact with Barbie on social media, and more.

    5 Out-of-the-Box Marketing Ideas for Brands

    Here are five out-of-the-box marketing ideas employed by Barbie that brands can emulate in their brand marketing strategies to create something fresh and exciting.

    1. Experiment With Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

    Barbie has taken full advantage of the AI craze with the Barbie Selfie Generator. With a quick picture upload, you can become your own Barbie (or Ken). 

    This AI tool allows the user to become part of the Barbieverse, creating an immersive experience that they can share using the hashtag #BarbieTheMovie, which has generated 178,000 posts on InstagramBarbie Selfie Generator home page 

    Image Source: Barbie Selfie Generator

    Consumers are looking for out-of-the-box marketing ideas that elevate their shopping experience. How can you use artificial intelligence to offer something similar?

    If you’re a clothing brand, for example, you can use both AI and augmented reality (AR) to create a virtual try-on that gives shoppers a better sense of how an outfit will look before they purchase it.

    You can also use AI to offer your customers enhanced product recommendations, visual search options, customer service chatbots, and more.

    2. Consider the ‘Nostalgia’ Factor

    The Wall Street Journal reports that brands hope the nostalgia factor will win adult customers over. Barbie has done an exceptional job of employing nostalgia marketing, which evokes a customer’s love of a brand’s past products with a modern take on those products. 

    Adults get to relive their love of Barbie through a new lens. For example, Barbie has permeated the fashion market with a Barbie x Forever21 collaboration, a Gap x Barbie collection, and a Barbie x Aldo limited-edition collection.Barbie X Aldo limited-edition collection

    Image Source: Aldo

    Winnie Park, chief executive at Forever21, estimates that pink accounts for 15% of the brand’s sales.

    “It’s 50 shades of pink in here … It’s a major driver of our business,” says Park to the Wall Street Journal. Customers can show off their love of both Barbie and the brand that released the collection.

    And there’s something for everyone: Dog owners can match with their dogs. Children can match with their dolls. High-heel lovers can don their pink, branded heels and instantly feel like Barbie.

    Do you have a beloved campaign or product that you can breathe new life into? Tapping into the nostalgia factor is an easy way to build consumer excitement and reinvigorate their love of your brand. 

    3. Deliver Truly Omnichannel Experiences

    The Barbie partnerships have created an incredible omnichannel experience that keeps Barbie at the heart of each touch point.

    For example, a consumer may first discover Ruggable’s Barbie collection through Instagram. A white dog sits on a pink rug that is under a bed with a white cover on it 

    Image Source: Ruggable Instagram

    Intrigued, they may turn to TikTok next to see what the Ruggable Barbie collection looks like in a lifestyle video. 


    Bring your dreams to life with the Barbie™ x Ruggable Collection. 💗 © 2023 Mattel @barbie @aboldnewhue #barbiexruggable#barbierug#barbie#rugtok#rugtiktok#barbiedecor#barbiecore

    ♬ Days Move Slow - Bully

    Video Source: Ruggable TikTok

    Next, the customer may visit Ruggable’s website for product details and to purchase a Barbie rug. Ruggable Barbie collection 

    Image Source: Ruggable Website

    Ruggable’s Barbie collection is an excellent example of how consistent touch points can drive consumers down the path to purchase.

    Creating an engaging omnichannel experience is about consistency across all digital and physical touch points. How can your brand achieve this level of consistency?

    product experience management (PXM) solution will ensure that all of your data is accurate and syndicated properly across all important touch points, which will provide consumers with the seamless shopping experiences they want.

    4. Lean Into Social Media 

    Building and maintaining a social media presence is an excellent way to connect with your audience, and Barbie takes it one step further.

    The brand made an out-of-the-box choice to anthropomorphize Barbie, essentially making her an influencer. She’s relaxing by the pool, driving around with Ken, and promoting her favorite brand collaborations. 

    Barbie’s social media accounts are doing exceedingly well: Her TikTok profile has 1.3 million followers and 15.3 million likes, and her Instagram account has 3 million followers.


    From the pickleball court to the pink carpet, Walmart gets me ready for it all! 💖 Barbie WalmartPartner

    ♬ original sound - barbie

    Video Source: Barbie TikTok

    Lisa McKnight, Mattel’s executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls, tells Vanity Fair magazine the company’s rationale for investing in its social media accounts: “A little girl that played Barbie two decades ago could be a mother today, or a grandmother. We do believe there is ultimately monetization that occurs by nurturing these relationships throughout generations.”

    Take a look at your current social media profiles. Are you producing relatable content that’s reaching your desired audience? Are you implementing social commerce on your social media profiles?

    If you don’t already have one, create a social media team that will handle the creation and execution of your social media strategy. They’ll keep your brand on track with the latest trends, handle influencer relationships, and so much more. 

    5. Build Lasting Connections With Customers 

    Barbie is more than a doll; she’s a lifestyle. For example, the color is so congruous with the Barbie brand that designing the movie set exacerbated a shortage of pink paint, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    The color is also an essential element of Barbiecore, a lifestyle that calls for hot pink clothing and a confident attitude. Barbie is still inspiring people, even into adulthood. 

    There’s also been a new Barbie every year since the doll’s release in 1959, which allows fans to associate a Barbie with the year they were born. Each of these dolls is representative of their time, which creates unique collecting opportunities and lasting associations.

    Creating long-lasting connections with customers means giving them opportunities to embrace your brand as part of their identity and lifestyle.

    If you’re an alcohol brand, for example, you could create a limited-edition bottle that will become a collector’s item. If you’re a home goods brand, you could release a new colorway each year, like the cookware brand Le Creuset. Shoppers will become attached to their favorite colors and build a collection based on those colors.

    Leverage New Tools and Technologies To Elevate Your Brand Marketing Strategies

    Take inspiration from Barbie: Don’t be afraid to experiment with AI, evoke customers’ nostalgia, create omnichannel experiences, use social media, and build lasting relationships with your customers. 

    Your efforts to incorporate out-of-the-box marketing ideas won’t go unnoticed, and you’ll undergo your own Barbie-level makeover. 

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    Written by: Madeline Koufogazos

    Madeline Koufogazos (she/her) is an editor and writer at Salsify, based out of Boston. She enjoys sharing her insights on consumer trends and behaviors, commerce, media, pop culture, and travel.

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