If you’re not already aware of the new live-action Barbie film that is hitting cinemas today, then where have you been?

Predicted to take the box-office by storm, Barbie has cemented itself firmly into the pop culture of summer 2023 before even hosting its opening night. Campaigns of Barbie’s scale are unfathomable for most brands, but there are valuable lessons to learn for brands and companies of all sizes.

Barbie makes a comeback

Whilst Barbie evokes a sense of nostalgia for many generations, the past few years have not been consistently smooth sailing for the brand. In 2015, CNN wrote an article entitled “Is Barbie Dead?” citing a significant drop in sales and general interest in the children’s toy. With negative connotations concerning body image and female stereotypes, the demand for Barbie dolls were declining. Life in plastic, wasn’t looking so fantastic…

Seeing where Barbie is today compared to this truly shows the power of marketing and press coverage in the rejuvenation and transformation of a brand or company’s reputation.

The scale of Barbie’s marketing transcends the possible in terms of budget and reach for many other brands but there are valuable lessons to be learned.

How can Barbie help you?

It’s undeniable that the Barbie team know how to market well, but what can we take from it?

  1. The value of brand collaborations

Like never before, the lead up to the release of Barbie has demonstrated how brand collaborations are vital in reaching different audiences. Barbie has taken this to new heights. Some may argue that they are feeling slightly oversaturated with Barbie pink when they surf the net as Barbie can be found seemingly everywhere we look. InStyle has compiled a list of just some of the huge number of brands Barbie has worked with ahead of the film release. Spanning industries from clothing ranges with Boohoo, beauty with NYX to roller skates from Impala Skate, they have really covered all bases.

Involving so many brands on a single campaign might not be something PRs can do for their client all the time, but we can’t ignore the value of cross brand support and the return it can bring. Always keep in mind brands that could work with your clients in a mutually beneficial agreement.

  1. Keep your content tailored

Barbie’s social media team has shown how important tailoring content is for different platform. Engaging on Twitter with press coverage as it happens, to posting real time premier TikTok’s set to the viral songs from the soundtrack – Barbie is appealing to all audiences.

Ensuring that you keep content relevant to the platform is key to having a successful online presence, but Barbie has mastered a seamless blend to offline too. From more traditional billboards that we see often for film advertising, to Airbnb’s life size Barbie Dreamhouse, we have witnessed one film’s campaign span all areas of our culture. Barbie’s campaign proves that one-size does not fit all, the opportunities for creativity and relevance are endless.

  1. Staying true to your brand

Even without the surge in marketing effort we’ve seen in recent months, Barbie’s brand and logo speaks for itself. Undergoing some revisions over the years since its inception in 1959, since 2009 Barbie’s logo has returned to a version very similar to its original branding. Barbie pink is instantly recognised around the world, in a similar way to the Tiffany & Co blue, Coca-Cola red or Whistle green!

Staying consistent with your branding is crucial in establishing a reputation that can stand the test of time.

  1. The Power of UGC

User generated content was one of the first ways the Barbie film started its marketing campaign. Launching its TikTok with the now viral ‘Hi Barbie, Hi Ken’ sound that has amassed thousands of videos on the app, from day one Barbie was getting everyday people involved. Across social media today you’ll see users posing in front of a green screen Barbie background or getting AI to transform them into their Barbie alter ego. All of this works to spark discussion and surges hashtag use for the film!

Barbie has really taken the PR, marketing and digital worlds by storm – creating a buzz that is hard to achieve. We can all learn a thing or two from Barbie, that even on a lower budget can help us all to create memorable and eye-catching campaigns.

As the famous song says “imagination, life is your creation”. All it takes is some creativity and imaginative thinking for a campaign to really get people talking!

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Courtney Caile is PR & Social Media Account Executive at Whistle PR which offers a range of integrated communications services including strategic consultancy, PR, digital and internal communications. For further information, email info@whistlepr.co.uk or contact us here