After all of the “Barbenheimer” fanfare—pitting the success of “Barbie” against “Oppenheimer” when both movies announced the same opening weekend— ”Barbie” was officially declared the winner, with the highest box office earnings ($155 million, setting a record for a film with a female director). That was, largely, thanks to a colossal marketing effort spanning the better part of a year, ranging from trailers that no more than hinted at what the movie was actually about to cinema takeovers featuring life-size doll boxes in the lobby that audiences could pose in.
Here were some of the other ingenious tactics employed by the “Barbie” marketing team(s):
- Star Margot Robbie’s red carpet looks, lifted directly from classic Barbies
- Clothing store collaborations, including Gap, Bloomingdales, Fossil, and Hot Topic
- Other brand collaborations ranging from luggage (Beis) to furniture (Joybird)
- Full-size, rentable Malibu DreamHouse through Airbnb
- A Progressive Insurance commercial
- A crossover with Google, where searching for Barbie-related keywords turns results pink
And so many more, including sneakers, dating advice, a popup promo at the NYC Pride Parade, and even a limited collab with Burger King in Brazil. And opening weekend was its own word-of-mouth marketing campaign, with people dressing up to see “Barbie” and posting themselves in the theaters, decked out in pink, excited to see the film with their posse.
Warner Bros. reported that it spent about $150 million on marketing for the film—which is astonishing, considering that the movie itself cost about $145 million to make!
It’s likely that the marketing strategy here—and the insane amount of money spent—will be analyzed for years to come. Surely, complete laymen will be referencing various aspects of it anytime the movie is brought up for a long, long time. Most movies definitely can’t say that (save for, sometimes, those with a particularly clever interview or memorable movie trailer).
Of course, very few campaigns can throw money at their project in an effort to go as big as possible, with major partners, for a full year. But sometimes, your work doesn’t need to be the biggest-ever campaign to generate some buzz and be remembered—it can just be unique, a first, or especially good.
If you’re interested in making a splash with a standout marketing campaign, then let’s just say we’re ready to help you think outside the box.