Hey, Posse! What’s up? It’s Alex.
Yup you KNEW I couldn’t let Barbie’s cinematic debut pass me by without breaking it ALL down for you here on my Channel.
Now I’m sure that, like me, Barbie is allllll you’ve been hearing about for months now.
And the hype has been even more amplified in the last week or so since the movie was released.
Marketing gurus everywhere are celebrating Mattel and Warner Bros. for pulling off a marketing campaign for the ages…
And while they aren’t revealing the marketing budget they had…
You can be certain that it was pretty massive.
But the coolest thing about the marketing strategies that the Barbie Movie followed is that – surprisingly – they’re actually pretty simple and any brand can use them too.
On a smaller scale – obviously.
But every single thing Barbie Movie did is something YOU can replicate in your own business – if you get creative!
So I did what I do best and studied every aspect of Barbie’s pre-launch campaign and identified 5 foundational marketing strategies that contributed to it’s success…
And I broke them down into simple steps that YOU can realistically follow even with little to no marketing budget.
But before we get too far down the Barbie Marketing rabbit hole…
If you’re new to the crew – welcome!
Here on my blog, you’ll find hundreds of in-depth tutorials teaching you all about marketing, copywriting, branding, and more.
Now. Barbie Marketing on a Budget – let’s get into it…
Starting with the first and maybe the most obvious thing that this launch did so well…
#1 – Unique Brand Experience
Every single thing… from the collabs to the A.I. filter to the real-life Barbie Cafe… was executed flawlessly with the Barbie brand experience in mind.
There was nothing you saw that was promoting the Barbie Movie that DIDN’T feel like “Omg, this is so Barbie”.
Everything FELT really authentic and true to the brand.
Which is KEY to replicating this level of hype and loyalty to YOUR brand.
If there was anything put out in this campaign that didn’t feel aligned… our bullshit meters would have gone off IMMEDIATELY and you can bet that people would’ve been turned off.
Brands unknowingly do this all the time…
Promoting an affiliate offer that feels totally off-brand just to make some extra cash…
Speaking on a podcast that has ZERO alignement with your brand mission for the sake of “exposure”…
And a million other seemingly small or harmless compromises a brand makes in an attempt to grow… but they’re actually doing themselves a massive disservice.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY to attract your ideal customers and grow your business.
Which is to create a consistent brand experience that is uniquely YOU.
You want every single touchpoint with your brand – from what you post on social media, to the emails you send, to the way you ask a person to buy – to be DRIPPING with your brand personality that it honestly feels like a no-brainer for THE RIGHT PEOPLE to stick around.
So how exactly do you create a brand experience as stellar as the Barbie one – WITHOUT buying a mansion in Malibu?
Well – the very first thing you need to do is stop trying to fit yourself into the standard box you “think” you should be in…
Brands – just like people – are multifaceted. With different layers, quirks, likes, dislikes, preferences, and so forth.
So what you need to do is sit down and get crystal clear on EXACTLY who your brand is.
If your brand was literally a person – who would they be? How would they dress? Speak? Etc.
An example of another brand that does this so well is Qveen Herby.
She’s an artist who creates music – but she understands the power of creating a brand experience for her fans.
So she doesn’t just post music. She doesn’t keep herself in a box of “I make music. You should listen to it and move on with your day”.
She lets her audience into her WORLD.
She’s quirky, colorful, funny, sarcastic, and a little woo-woo. And she has built her brand to mirror these characteristics – which in turn has created a super loyal audience who loves her music AND they also just really love her brand.
Something she does all the time is these aura cleanse videos on Instagram.
At first glance, this has NOTHING to do with her music or getting more people to listen to her on Spotify – right?
But this is a part of the Qveen Herby brand. And her fans love and engage with it so much that it’s now a regular feature of her brand experience.
So when thinking about your marketing strategy, the first thing you need to do is STOP doing what everyone else is doing and get clear on your UNIQUE brand experience.
You really should crystalize this piece before you do anything else.
Now, moving on to the next thing Barbie Marketing did that anyone else can replicate…
#2 – Consistent Visual Branding.
Okay so we just talked about creating a unique brand experience that has to do with the PERSONALITY and voice of your brand.
But what about visual branding like brand colors, logos, and fonts? Yup, Barbie did that better than ANY OTHER BRAND I’ve seen…
I mean… hello…
In what other reality do you see a COLOR and think of a BRAND?
Barbie is now synonymous with the color PINK.
“Barbe Pink” even has its own signature Pantone shade: PMS 219C.
So naturally, when it came to their marketing strategy…
PINK WAS EVERYWHERE.
Barbie Marketing was not afraid one bit of making anything and everything BOLDLY stand out with their signature pink or Barbie logo.
I mean, they literally put Barbie Pink sauce on a burger – how’s that for extreme? And it’s totally genius.
Google Searches for the term “Barbie Pink” have skyrocketed in the last month…
Source: Google Trends
Yet, most brands are terrified of being THIS bold with their branding.
They’re scared that they’ll turn people off.
But the ironic thing is that being bold is EXACTLY what draws people to you, makes you recognizable, AND makes you memorable.
You want your brand to be recognizable to your audience… even if the logo is not present. So that means you need to be consistent with the visuals you are putting out there. Use the same colors on your website, your Instagram feed, your LinkedIn, etc.
Now what I’m NOT saying here is that you should pick crazy brand colors for the sake of standing out…
You want it to be cohesive with your brand experience – so your colors, logos, and fonts NEED to make sense with your brand’s personality.
Okay next up is kind of a 3-in-1 tip…
#3 – Collaboration, PR & User-Generated Content
“I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie WORLD.”
The marketing team worked on OVERTIME to make “Barbie World” a reality.
With well over 100 brand collaborations, press coverage in all the big magazines and TV shows, and TONS of user-generated content.
Barbie World was literally taking over the real world.
Now, you’re probably thinking:
“Yeah, cool Alex. But my little startup could never get brand collaborations like this or get interviewed on Good Morning America.”
But what you CAN do is take note and replicate the concept in a way that works for you.
Find brands of a similar size, same target audience, and complementary products/services…
And team up to CROSS PROMOTE each other.
This strategy was a win-win for the Barbie Movie and all the brands that jumped on the Barbie train…
And it can be a win-win for YOU and the brands you partner with as well.
Just remember what we talked about earlier…
You never want to sacrifice the integrity of your brand experience just for a collaboration opportunity.
A good brand collaboration will MAKE SENSE with your brand. Like a swimsuit brand collab-ing with a sunscreen brand – for example.
I guarantee that if you sat down and made a list of brands or niches that are directly tied to what you do (but not in direct competition) you will come up with sooooo many!
Start reaching out to these brands. Get conversations going. And see what happens.
And when it comes to PR…
You don’t need to be featured in Vanity Fair or LA Weekly in order for PR to make a splash in your marketing efforts.
PR can mean:
- Being interviewed on someone’s podcast…
- Guest blog posts…
- Taking over someone’s social media for a day…
All of these strategies are great PR opportunities that literally any brand of any size can do. And another thing we HAVE to mention here is UGC.
UGC – or user-generated content – is when FANS or consumers are posting about your brand, product, or service on their own social platforms.
This is basically free advertising for your brand.
But not just any kind of free advertising – the most effective kind!
Barbie Marketing was HEAVILY promoted with User-Generated-Content.
Remember this: what YOU can learn from this is the power of creating something FUN and SHAREABLE.
Not everything you put out in a marketing campaign needs to be focused on “selling” something.
There is a lot to be said about simply having fun OR sharing super useful and relevant information.
- Create a fun filter.
- Make a quiz.
- Design a contest.
- Consider what’s trending right now – how can you jump on the trend in a way that’s unique to your brand?
And when people DO share about your brand or tag you – reshare it! Feature them on your website, social media, or in your emails (with permission of course!).
Take full advantage of UGC whenever you can!
#4 – Know Your Audience To The T
I’ll be honest – when I first heard of the Barbie Movie I assumed it would be a movie for kids. Kinda like the LEGO movie.
Kids’ toy, kids’ movie right?? Oh hellllll no.
Something this movie campaign did sooooo well was speak to their IDEAL audience.
And hello it was ME.
They were not targeting little girls who play with Barbies.
They were targeting Millenials and Gen Zs who grew up with Barbie.
This made a BIG DIFFERENCE in the messaging and the overall approach that the marketing efforts would take…
This is why you notice so much “adult humor” in the movie…
Even though it’s still rated PG-13. It’s why so many of the marketing events were geared toward ADULTS.
And it’s why many of the brand collaborations were with brands that 20 and 30-something-year-olds would be interested in.
They weren’t trying to appeal to everyone. And that’s why the campaign was such a success.
Literally—they made me (someone who has NO intention to see the movie because I didn’t think it was for me), booking tickets to go see it in a THEATRE the week of its release.
I legit can’t remember the last time I did that.
So while this strategy is literally the foundation of all great marketing… it bears repeating. Knowing exactly WHO you target is – what they want, where they hang out, what they like, dislike, what they want to hear – cannot be underestimated.
If you need help figuring out who you should be targeting in your messaging, I have a free Customer Avatar Worksheet, which I’ll link below for you.
Now on to the fifth and final lesson you can take from Barbie’s brilliant marketing campaign….
#5 – Play The Long Game = Consistency
Playing the long game is the best marketing strategy of them all.
Being consistent and patient with your marketing and content efforts is *the* thing most brands are missing today.
Look – I get it.
Everyone wants the silver bullet. The overnight success.
But sorry, that just DOESN’T EXIST. Not even for the Barbie Movie.
Something Barbie Movie did sooooo well was that they built anticipation slowly and over TIME.
Mattel first announced that Barbie Movie was coming (and that Margot Robbie was playing Barbie) in 2019… FOUR YEARS before the movie was released.
- A first look of Margot Robbie decked out as Barbie was released in early 2022…
- Followed by a reveal of the entire cast…
- A first trailer…
- A second trailer…
- A main trailer…
And on and on – they trickled out more and more Barbie content.
Without ever revealing *too* much at once.
Which is GENIUS.
They didn’t release one big trailer, a year before the premiere, and hope people would still be excited about it when it came time to buy tickets.
They stayed front and center in the minds of their audience for FOUR YEARS.
Picking up momentum and traction over time.
And by the time the movie was 8 months from being released, the Barbie hype was so big that it literally took on a mind of its own.
This did not happen by accident and it certainly wasn’t an “overnight” success.
Warner Bros president of global marketing Josh Goldstine said this in an interview about the Baribe Marketing Strategy:
“We saw it as a breadcrumb strategy, where we gave people little elements of the movie to stimulate curiosity and that created conversation.”
This is a concept that literally every single brand – big or small – can replicate.
NEVER underestimate how much impact you can have simply by investing TIME and EFFORT into showing up consistently and keeping your brand and your messaging front and center leading up to a launch.
This is what I call PRIMING and I do it for months before every single launch I do and here’s how you can do it to…
At least 3-6 months before your launch date you should be:
- Generating curiosity/excitement about your upcoming launch.
- Educating your audience about your product/service.
- Sharing benefits to build desire.
Do this and you’ll generate more hype, anticipation, and sales.
I hope you had fun breaking down Barbiemania with me.
Give me a thumbs up if you learned anything in today’s blog…
And I’ll see you next week with a brand new blog. Until then, I’m Alex. Ciao for now!