'It's no coincidence.' Let’s talk about the Barbie movie’s mega marketing campaign.

In the world of marketing, sometimes 'more' is indeed 'more'.

This mantra resonates loud and clear with the Barbie movie's marketing campaign, for which no expense has been spared.

So what’s the deal with the blockbuster budget (rumoured to be $100 million USD), massive effort and nearly 15 years dedicated to perfecting a movie about a doll?

The Barbie brand is more than just a toy — Barbie is the O.G. influencer. Love her or hate her, Barbie is an iconic figure, recognisable across all generations. And whether you wanted to be her and dreamt about getting your mitts on the Barbie Dream House, or turned your nose up at her unrealistic proportions and hefty price tag, Barbie has made a mark on pop culture since her creation in 1959.

Now, with the Barbie movie approaching, Mattel has gone all out to guarantee its success.

Watch the Barbie trailer here. Post continues below.

Video via Warner Bros.

Did you know the Barbie movie was first given the green light back in 2009? After numerous iterations, and changes in writers, directors, cast members and even movie studios, the highly anticipated Barbie movie is finally ready to hit our screens on July 20 this year.


And the extensive time and effort invested in perfecting the Barbie movie before its release is no coincidence.


Well, for starters, Barbie is a flagship brand and a major revenue driver for Mattel. A movie that isn’t a hit with the people could have a detrimental impact on Barbie's popularity, and of course, sales.

Plus, the movie is a platform to revitalise and redefine the Barbie brand, reflecting its evolution with the times and embracing a progressive future.

The careful development of the Barbie movie over the years shows Mattel's commitment to delivering a film that lives up to the iconic status and cultural significance of Barbie herself. In 2023, Barbie is less concerned with breaking a nail, and more with breaking down stereotypes.

This is a thought-provoking, discussion-prompting movie, with its PG rating and topics like representation and our societal, cultural and economic evolution. But don't be fooled into thinking it's just for children. Barbie has sparked its share of controversy – it's bound to be a talking point at your next social event.

The magnitude of Barbie's reach.

With a whopping 58 million Barbie dolls sold annually worldwide (that's 100 dolls sold every minute), Barbie holds a special place in Mattel's heart – and the consumers'.


Before Frozen, Barbie had practically sewn up the doll market, but the launch of the Frozen movie let the new Ice Queen in town take a bite out of Mattel’s market share.

But if Disney can launch dolls, why can’t Mattel make movies? If you can’t beat them, join them, right?

With a stellar cast, including Australia’s own Margot Robbie and co-star Ryan Gosling, Academy Award nominee Greta Gerwig directed and co-wrote the live-action film based on Mattel’s Barbie dolls. 

Unprecedented times? More like an unprecedented marketing campaign.

The Barbie movie is one of the biggest post-pandemic Hollywood blockbusters. 

According to a Variety report, the budget for Barbie was $100 million USD, which makes Gerwig one of just a few women to direct a film with a nine-figure budget. 

The promo for this movie feels like it has Gone. On. Forever. 

Image: Getty.


The campaign kicked off in April this year with "leaked" photos of co-stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling rollerblading on Venice Beach, with eye-catching promotional posters. 

The introduction of the Barbie Selfie Generator took socials by storm and fuelled the campaign's momentum. 

It’s only gained steam (and sparkle) since.

We're living in Barbie’s world.

Barbie's influence extends beyond the merch and movie, with the Barbiecore clothing trend and an impressive array of brand collaborations. 

I’ve counted at least 23, including Barbie x Cotton On, Barbie x Krispy Kreme, Barbie x GAP, Barbie x Impala roller blades, and even Barbie x Airbnb. 


Interestingly, the collaboration with Airbnb for a stay in Barbie’s Dreamhouse is a few years old, but the property has been relisted to coincide with the movie launch.


There is a lesson for marketers here – or perhaps for everyone.

Don’t reinvent the wheel.

What’s old can be made new again with a fresh coat of bright pink paint (if you can get your hands on it – the VP of the paint supplier for the Barbie movie said they cleaned them out!).

From pool toys to scented candles, nail polish to rugs, luggage and hair styling tools, you name it, it’s now Barbie pink.

Barbie does Bondi.

The Barbie movie's marketing campaign press tour included an activation at Bondi Beach, where the iconic Icebergs pool underwent a Barbie makeover. 

A picture-perfect backdrop for the press conference attended by director Greta Gerwig and cast members Margot Robbie, Issa Rae and America Ferrera, the Bondi-meets-Barbie Land transformation was memorable and shows the dedication and commitment to the success of the movie.

Image: Supplied/CarolineMcCredie.


Barbie has always dreamt big.

From her shiny pink convertible, couture wardrobe, career aspirations and multi-level house, it makes sense Mattel has put their money where its mouth is. They created a campaign in line with, and equally as impressive as their golden-haired child.

They could have dipped their toe in, but instead, they seized the opportunity with both (perfectly manicured) hands.

Is bigger always better?

When it comes to marketing – not necessarily.

For the Barbie movie, the budget was there and heck, they used it. The campaign is splashy, flashy… and, well, full of cashy. 

The sheer scale of the marketing efforts and the people involved created a buzz and generated media coverage to make sure Barbie's presence was felt far and wide. But if we break it down, the collaborations, merch, pop-up events, and posters – while appealing – aren't exactly pushing the limits of innovation.


In fact, they’re pretty basic if we look at them individually.

On the flip side, smaller brands need to rely on creativity, innovation and ingenuity to get noticed. They usually don’t have the luxury of pouring massive amounts of money into marketing campaigns, or the brand presence and power Barbie does.

True marketing success is about finding the sweet spot between creativity, innovation and budget, and there are some genius examples of brands that have done this without six figures and a posse of well-connected people on their bandwagon.

As the trailer aptly puts it, "If you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you." 

Let me know which side of the fence you land on after July 20.

Mia Fileman is a global marketing strategist, and the REAL Emily in Paris-turned-entrepreneur. She is the founder of Campaign Del Mar and offers strategic and creative marketing for founders and their teams. Mia is renowned for keeping things real and honest – if you want no-nonsense, fluff-free marketing insights without the BS, follow her on Instagram

Feature image: Supplied/Caroline McCredie/OPI/Impala Skate/Instagram/@Airbnb/@cottonon/@barbie.

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