Five of the best Barbie-inspired marketing campaigns

It’s plastic. It’s fantastic. It’s the biggest hit of the year. It’s Barbie.

Sorry Oppenheimer, but the battle for summer cinematic supremacy was won before it even really began. Within days of opening to critical acclaim and delirious levels of excitement from fans worldwide, Barbie the Movie has smashed box office records, delighted audiences and delivered an unforgettable cameo that, once seen, cannot be unseen. Trust me.

Directed by Greta Gerwig and buoyed by an all-star cast revolving around arguably the most iconic toy of all time, Barbie was always destined to deliver big and put butts in seats. But its enormous success so far goes way beyond the appeal of Mattel’s iconic creation: it’s been an absolute masterclass in highly-effective promotional activity and ad spend, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that when done right (and with copious amounts of pink and glitter thrown in), marketing still works.

So buckle up as we head to Barbie Land for five of the best Barbie-inspired marketing campaigns we’ve seen before its launch. And the biggest winner of all this year? The movie industry.

Airbnb: Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse

Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to spend a night in Barbie’s Dreamhouse? Anyone? We didn’t think so. The hot pink abode, quite literally the dream of many, is now a reality. Well, in a way.

Thanks to Airbnb, super-fans could book a stay in Ken’s room in a replica of the iconic oceanfront Dreamhouse, dripping with resplendent Kenergy from top-to-bottom.

Beyond just a magnificently-delivered movie tie-in, Airbnb has also pledged a one-time donation to Save the Children to help provide “resources and support to children, families, and communities in 100+ countries to build girls’ confidence and help them excel in school”. That’s Kenough for us.

Ken's Dreamhouse X Airbnb - Exterior. Credit: Hogwash Studios

Ken’s Dreamhouse X Airbnb – Exterior. Credit: Hogwash Studios

Ken's Dreamhouse Sandbox Airbnb. Credit: Joyce Lee

Ken’s Dreamhouse Sandbox Airbnb. Credit: Joyce Lee

Ken's Dreamhouse Bedroom X Airbnb. Credit: Joyce Lee

Ken’s Dreamhouse Bedroom X Airbnb. Credit: Joyce Lee

Warner Bros: The Barbie Selfie Generator

Anyone who doubted the cultural significance of AI had these concerns well and truly rebuffed when the Barbie Selfie Generator came along, and timelines across the world were taken over by Barbie Land.

The simplicity of Warner Bros’ official Barbie Selfie Generator – delivered in partnership with Photoroom – combined with its slick execution, smooth platform integration, creative applications and ability to bring a smile to even the gloomiest of social profiles – led to millions of downloads before the movie even hit theatres.

Give it a try. Thank us later.

Barbie x Boohoo

Make no mistake: 2023 is the summer to be pink. And Boohoo has got fans well and truly covered with its Barbie x Boohoo range. This creative collaboration embodies a “shared commitment to inclusivity and empowerment” with an extra big serving of pink.

The limited edition collection, launched in the run-up to the film’s release, quickly sold out and, in the process, garnered plenty of headlines as fashion fans clamoured to get their hands on the garments that combine “Boohoo’s streetwear edge with Barbie flair.”

Thankfully now back in stock (you can breathe again now), there will be nowhere you can hide from Barbie this year. Embrace it instead.

Burger King: The Pink Burger

Pink goes with everything, right? Burger King Brazil has certainly put that theory to the ultimate test with the launch of the Pink Burger.

Well and truly dividing its audience with the big reveal, the fast-food chain’s limited edition burger forms part of the BK Barbie Combo – because a Pink Burger simply wouldn’t be complete without Ken French Fries and a Barbie Donut Shake to go with.

Reaching over 5 million accounts (and counting) with its initial tweet alone, while the culinary jury’s still out on whether the Pink Burger is a hit or miss, it’s definitely got folks talking about the summer’s hottest release.

Xbox Series S: The Barbie Edition

If there’s one thing cooler than spending a night in Barbie’s Dreamhouse, it’s spending every single night and day playing on a games console designed to look exactly like it.

You heard that right. Xbox and teamed up with Mattel to create an incredible version of the Xbox Series S in beautiful pastel pink shades – and if that wasn’t enough to get you to part with your money sharpish, wireless controller faceplates that match Barbie and Ken’s movie ensembles are also available.

Quite possibly, it’s the most wonderful thing we’ve ever laid our eyes on. Apart from Barbie the Movie, of course.

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