The Barbie movie marketing team pulled off the most significant grand slam in film promotion history. Here’s what we can learn from it.

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As we near the end of #Billiongirlsummer one thing is sure, America’s consumers are here for powerhouse music, girl-power messages, and nostalgia. The question is no longer what consumers want; it’s how to give them more opportunities to experience their favorite things.

The standout strategy of spring and summer? The Barbie movie marketing team pulled off the most significant grand slam in film promotion history. What can we learn from this, and how can we apply it to your marketing strategy? Let’s break down the key points.

The timing was everything

The marketing for this movie began early last year, but what struck me as different was the careful placement of branding very early in the game. Most movies will tease a trailer and maybe release the film poster as a piece of early merch. This team strategically placed materials where they knew their core audience physically and digitally spent time.

In fact, many consumers thought the movie was already out before the movie was actually released because the marketing was so saturated.

Marketing Lesson: Event plan as early as possible so you have time to build excitement and awareness with your audience.

Leaning into Color Theory

Pink has long been associated with happiness. The campaign was virtually soaked in the theme color, and the audience instinctively “knew” to wear pink to the theater to watch the movie.

Marketing Lesson:  If you do not have a strong color story or brand guide for your personal brand or your brokerage, it’s time to invest in professional guidance to help you make your digital and physical assets more memorable with consumers.

Expect the unexpected

The marketing team at Warner Bros. did a fantastic job teasing out that the movie had more depth than expected. They were also not afraid to let it show that it had light and dark elements. How did they do this? They leaned into storytelling. Consumers knew that there was more to the story, and that is what drew them in. 

Marketing Lesson: What is your personal story? What story are you trying to tell consumers? If your story is asking for business, it is not a story it is a sales pitch. Take time to curate three core messages you want your audience to know about your brand and infuse them into all parts of your market.

Solid, repetitive messaging

The catchphrase “Hi Barbie” was an easy-to-follow and easy-to-repeat audible that directly connected the movie to the audience.  

Marketing Lesson: Taglines and slogans can often be cheesy, but if it is consistently and intentionally done, they can be a solid anchor to help your brand be memorable.

Collabs, Collabs, Collabs

Everyone wanted in on this campaign, which truly shows the benefit of working together for a common goal. With over 100 authorized and who-knows-how-many unauthorized campaigns. Barbie-pink fever swept almost every major brand this summer.

Marketing Lesson: Build relationships with others to help spread a common message. Sometimes brands and individuals are so worried about standing out or doing it on their own that they forget the power a great collaboration can have with a wicked smart marketing campaign.

Wrapping up

I truly believe that marketing students will be studying the success of this campaign for decades to come, and I also believe that the bar has been raised. Marketing does not have to be intrusive or obnoxious, but it does need to be heartfelt, fun and on point, with the vibe the consumers are seeking. Nothing is worse than an intrusive marketing campaign with a bland message; it is not only flat but a massive waste of money.  

Typically when the economy shifts, marketing is the first department to get cut down, and everyone decides to DIY when budgets are tight, but this move could be deadly for your already stale pipeline.  

Invest in a creative marketing team, monitor analytics and stop cutting corners.  Your brand is essential to how consumers connect with you, and unless your brand is curated and easy to understand, you will be another agent in a box waiting for someone to take you off the shelf.

Rachael Hite is a former agent, a business development specialist, fair housing advocate, copy editor, and is currently perfecting her long game selling homes in a retirement community in Northern Virginia. You can connect with her about life, marketing, and business on Instagram.

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