No matter your age or demographic it’s hard to go anywhere or even open your phone without stumbling across something related to the Barbie movie. Be it a TikTok listing all the AI generated Barbie dreamhouses of every country, a Barbie poster on a bus or Nicki Minaj’s Barbie song on Spotify. 

Brands are also getting super duper involved – from hot pink headphones to a neon bedroom light – “Barbiecore” is everywhere from Burger King’s pink burger to Ruggable’s limited edition rug. The abundance of marketing partnerships might feel like oversaturation to some but marketers believe the various tie-in product launches and marketing campaigns will be a beneficial return of investment between the Mattel brand and its brand partners.

Honestly I don’t remember the last time I saw a movie that was this publicised. Many marketers are even wondering if Barbie is setting a new standard for how Hollywood IP movies establish their marketing partnerships or if Barbie is simply an anomaly.

“It does feel oversaturated in the sense that they’ve extended so much into every possible product you can think of,” said Sarah Engel, president of the advertising agency January Digital. “It’s on every shelf, it’s just everywhere.” Having said that the Barbie movie isn’t just any movie, Barbie is a brand and a safe one for marketers at that. Barbie partners such as Airbnb see the brand as a positive example since it creates a brand experience for people. 

Having said that, other legacy intellectual properties had films released earlier this year, such as Super Mario Bros, Nike, and Hot Cheetos, but such a marketing push was not done to the degree of Barbie. Furthemore, Barbie merch doesn’t make sense for just any brand, take Lipton as an example who have never previously expressed association with Barbie or anything similar/in its realm. Perhaps the other movies were more selective about which partners it collaborates with and licences out to.

The oversaturation seems to be working. According to the data intelligence platform Snack Content, the number of mentions Barbie got on TikTok increased 191% from 80% on YouTube within the last year, and videos using the hashtag #Barbie have been viewed more than 9 billion times on TikTok. Throughout the first half of this year, TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels used the #Barbie hashtag 145% more than they did all of last year.
Aside from increased usage, the social media push has likely increased interest in the film. Based on UTA IQ’s Quarterly Report, which examined data, research, and digital strategy, two-thirds of Gen Zers and millennials who expressed interest in seeing Barbie in theatres said it’s memes were among the reasons.

Whether we like it or not, Barbie’s marketing campaign is going to cause a major change in the marketing industry, depending on whether studios are willing to take it. Based on the box office results and social media impressions for Barbie, brands will start looking at this and will want to do their own version of the mega marketing push. 

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