Best Barbie-fied brand campaigns, from Roku, Pinterest, Bumble and more
With the global debut of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie right around the corner, here’s the most plastic and fantastic work from brands and agencies thus far.
Roku City has undergone a Barbie makeover to promote the new film / Credit: Warner Bros
For months now, everyone has lived in a Barbie world, thanks to the marketing team for the upcoming Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, which hits theaters on July 21.
The franchise’s first live-action and theatrically released film has partnered with countless brands. There’s a Malibu Dreamhouse on Airbnb, hot-pink double-decker buses all over London and so much more.
The result? Barbie fever. According to data from TV outcomes company EDO, Barbie’s creatives have outperformed the category’s average ad performance by 146%. Meanwhile, Barbie is the moment across social media; use of the #Barbie hashtag across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels has skyrocketed 145% in the first half of 2023 compared with last year. On TikTok, videos with the #Barbie hashtag have amassed 9bn views this year alone, per research from global content studio Snack Content.
Below, we unpack (or perhaps, unbox) some of the hottest Barbie-fied work from brands, from Warner Bros’ viral Barbie Selfie Generator to a pretty-in-pink activation in the popular video game Stumble Guys.
Barbie takes her party to Roku City
Barbie is everywhere, from social media to TV commercials. Now, she’s even infiltrated Roku City. In an unforeseen approach to movie marketing, Roku and Warner Bros teamed up to add the Barbie Dream House, equipped with a dance floor, hot pink slide, and extensive shoe closet, to the streaming tool’s screensaver.
The campaign also includes a Barbie-themed placement on the home screen and the chance to watch the movie trailer with the scan of a QR code to purchase movie tickets. The campaign runs from July 13 through July 23.
Cast of influencers channel Barbie in Tangle Teezer campaign
Barbie buffs of any hair type, Tangle Teezer says it has just the brush for you. The TikTok viral hairbrush brand released a social campaign starring a trio of influencers to embody what the brand is known for: empowerment, playfulness and inclusivity. In the ad, each influencer has a different hair texture but can effortlessly detangle and coiffe with the Tangle Teezer brush, giving them hair smooth enough to belong on Barbie’s head.
The effort was led by integrated marketing agency MG Empower, which has previously delivered campaigns for Bumble, Chopard, Lionsgate+, JVN, Deliveroo and TikTok Bytedance. For Tangle Teezer, MG Empower’s in-house production team produced a suite of video and still assets, influencer marketing and an in-person activation.
New Pinterest ad chafes ‘She’s everything; he’s just Ken’ memes
According to internal Pinterest data, “Barbiecore” and “Barbie moodboard” searches are up 980% this year. Timed to the release of the upcoming film and trending Pinterest searches, the image-sharing app has launched the latest extension of its ’It’s Possible’ brand campaign. What’s different, however, is that the ad leans into Ken, not Barbie, to reference people creating memes using the tagline, “She’s everything; he’s just Ken,” to describe what they believe are incredible women paired with lackluster men.
According to Pinterest’s vice-president of global creative, Xanthe Wells, the brand aims to “have a little fun” with the viral trend. “Pinners can really stand out with their aesthetic choices so they are ‘Not Just Ken,’” she said.
Barbie delivers compliments from one Bumble user to another
Every Barbie needs their Ken. To help singles find a date to the Barbie movie premiere this summer, popular dating app Bumble and Warner Bros released a Barbie-themed tool to deliver Barbie or Ken-themed compliments to other users. The campaign comes after a Bumble survey found that three in four respondents said receiving praise from a potential romantic partner makes them more interested in that person.
Robbie & Gosling hit the ‘pink carpet’ for the Barbie movie premiere
On Sunday, a ‘pink carpet’ was rolled out for the Barbie movie premiere at Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall. The hot-pink pop-up included a fake swimming pool, inflatable flamingo, lifeguard tower and more. As Gosling and Robbie putzed around the pink carpet, several other stars also appeared, including popstar Billie Eilish, Awkward Black Girl star Issa Rae, rapper Nicki Minaj and actor Kingsley Ben-Adir.
The activation was created by 15|40 Productions, an LA-based experiential marketing agency behind some of the biggest premieres across the country, including Stranger Things, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Game of Thrones, and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, among others.
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Warner Bros’ viral ‘Barbie Selfie Generator’
Most social media users will remember the wave of Barbie-themed selfies that infiltrated feeds back in April. Following the first Barbie movie trailer, Warner Bros. released the Barbie Selfie Generator, allowing consumers to take a selfie and create their own Barbie movie poster via the website www.barbieselfie.ai.
Behind the viral campaigns is an AI-powered photo-editing app called PhotoRoom, also responsible for Netflix’s ‘Streamberry’ campaign, which similarly transformed fans’ selfies into posters for the new Black Mirror series.
Stumble Guys adds a ‘Barbie Dream Dash’ course to the game
This month, Stumble Guys and Mattel unveiled the ‘Barbie Dream Dash,’ a colorful addition to the popular battle royale video game on iOS, Android and Steam. Players will dodge ocean hazards surrounding a Barbie beach party in the new obstacle course.
The Barbie Dream Dash marks the second collaboration between Stumble Guys and Mattel. In December 2022, the two teamed up for a Hot Wheels integration that transformed the game with a head-to-head driving mode.
Rue21’s limited-edition Barbie-Hot Wheels clothing drop
To cash in on double the nostalgia, Rue21, an affordable fashion brand, released on Thursday a 29-piece collaboration with two iconic Mattel brands: Barbie and Hot Wheels. The collection included a line of apparel and accessories, including graphic tees, matching sets and accessories ranging from $7.99 to $39.99.
BooHoo drops a ‘Barbie-core’ clothing collection
As consumers prepare for Barbie on the big screen, it is unsurprising that the fashion world is abuzz with all things pink. Ahead of the film’s launch, searches for ‘Barbie-inspired outfit’ skyrocketed 614%, while the #barbieoutfits hashtag on TikTok surpassed over 56.5 million views, according to research from British online fashion retailer Boohoo.
To help fans decide what ‘Barbiecore’ outfit they will wear to the film premiere, the brand created an apparel line with Mattel, which ranges from $10 to $50 and is described by the brand as having an “iconic pink color palette paired with pops of whites and black.”