Ad Age gushed that the film’s marketing, which involved 100-plus brand collaborations, “represents a new era in movie marketing.”
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, told NPR, “This is a test case in how to perfectly market a movie.” He said that with cost-effective use of product tie-ins and social media virality, the movie had already triumphed over the zeitgeist.
NPR cites Airbnb’s listing for “Barbie’s Malibu Dream House,” an actual Malibu mansion with hot pink paint. The aforementioned brand partnerships, meanwhile, range from frozen yogurt to home insurance. Then there’s the online “Barbie selfie generator” and the brick-and-mortar “World of Barbie” pop up in a Santa Monica shopping mall.
Mattel is following Disney’s Star Wars and Hasbro’s Transformers in transforming its intellectual property into a film franchise. Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz told Time, “My thesis was that we needed to transition from being a toy-manufacturing company, making items, to an I.P. company, managing franchises.”
This summer, it’s a Barbie world, as Marketing Brew reports. “It feels like almost every single piece of Barbie and its universe has been brought to life,” Brand strategist Moche Isaacian told the publication.
As Creative Bloq notes, Barbie’s viral moments included its character posters, its double entendre-hinting French movie poster and user-generated Barbenheimer poster images playing off the film’s release timing alongside the movie Oppenheimer.
What about those who criticize the project as a cash grab? Gary Pope, co-founder and CEO of the children’s entertainment creative agency Kids Industries, told VICE: “Of course it is. Of course it is about selling toys and products. Does that take anything away from a kid or an adult enjoying that film? No.