top of page

The Secret Behind Barbie's Movie Marketing Strategy: How to Create a Successful Marketing Campaign

Barbie has been an iconic doll for generations and now she’s taking over the big screen in the live action movie, Barbie, with mega stars, such as Margot Robbie in the title role and Ryan Gosling as Ken.

But what is the secret behind Barbie's movie marketing strategy? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the tactics that has the world buzzing about the 2023 Barbie movie.

The secret behind barbie's movie marketing

From effective content marketing to strategic partnerships, we'll explore the key elements that helped Barbie become a beloved brand and a profitable film that has already racked in $155 million in its opening weekend.

Whether you're an indie filmmaker or marketer looking to learn from a successful case study or simply a fan of Barbie, you won't want to miss this fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the world of marketing for movies.

So, sit back and get ready to discover the secret behind Barbie's movie magic.

Of course, Barbie’s film marketing strategy included the usual suspects, like a movie poster, an official trailer, teaser trailers, movie premieres, and talent interviews. But we’re not going to talk about those tactics today. If you want to learn more about the traditional marketing for movies, check out this article.

Now, what we’re going to discuss today is the Barbie takeover of what seems like everything.

Leveraging Nostalgia and Brand Recognition

One of the key factors in Barbie's success is the brand recognition that comes with the name. Many people grew up with the iconic toy, and as a result, have a strong emotional connection to the brand. This nostalgia has been leveraged in the marketing of the movies.

One way that Barbie has leveraged its brand recognition is by creating merchandise that ties in with the movie. For example, Mattel released a new collection of Barbie dolls and fashions from the 2023 Barbie Live Action movie that ties in with the movie's themes and characters. This allows fans to bring the movie home and continue their connection with the brand beyond the theater.

Barbie Movie 2023 doll collection

PS: Some of these are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission for recommending the product to you.

Enroll Now into Leveling Up Your Film Business to learn film marketing

Target Audience and Market Research

Another key aspect of Barbie's movie marketing strategy is its focus on target audience and market research. To create a successful global box office haul for the Barbie Movie 2023, the brand needed to know its audience and tailor its film advertising to their interests.

Barbie has always been marketed towards young girls, and the movies are no exception. However, the brand has also recognized the importance of appealing to parents, who often make the purchasing decisions for their children. As a result, the marketing for the movies often focuses on the positive messages and values that are present in the films, such as friendship, courage, and determination.

To ensure that its film marketing efforts were effective, Barbie conducted extensive market research. This included analyzing trends in the toy and movie industries, studying the preferences and behaviors of its target audience, and gathering feedback from fans. By using this data to inform its movie marketing strategy, Barbie was able to create film advertising that resonated with its audience and drove engagement with the brand.

To dive deeper into identifying your target audience, check out this article.

Incorporating Diversity and Inclusivity in Marketing

Another important aspect of Barbie's film marketing strategy is its focus on diversity and inclusivity. In recent years, the brand has made a concerted effort to create dolls and content that represent a wide range of races, body types, and abilities. This commitment to diversity has been reflected in the movie as well.

For example, actress Issa Rae stars as president Barbie and America Ferrera as Gloria, a Mattel employee who helps Barbie in the real world. By featuring a diverse cast of characters, Barbie is able to appeal to a wider audience that reflects the world that its audience lives in.

Utilizing Cross-Promotion and Partnerships

Barbie has also been successful in advertising for movies by utilizing cross-promotion and partnerships. This involves partnering with other brands or organizations to promote the movie and create additional opportunities for film advertising.

For example, as I was doing research for Barbie Movie 2023, Google literally turned pink and stars sparkled on the screen. Talking about an all-out take over.

Plus, there are many brands releasing their exclusive pink Barbie-themed collections ahead of the release. Some well-known brands include OPI (nail lacquer), NYI (cosmetics), Gap (clothing), Aldo (shoes), Forever 21 (clothing), Impala (rollerblades), and many more.

Barbie merchandise

Apart from all the grooming products and gear they have also collaborated with HGTV for a four-part special the 'Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge' that chronicles the makeover of a modern home into the iconic Barbie Dreamhouse toy. This is an effective method of advertising for movies.

Barbie dream house challenge

The marketing team also captured the gaming world by teaming up with Xbox to release pink consoles and controllers along with Forza Horizon 5 cars, which are Barbie and Ken-inspired.

Barbie Forza Horizon 5 and corvette

And let’s not forget that an official Barbie soundtrack has also been uploaded on music platforms, and the list includes songs from various well-known singers, such as Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice. Soundtracks are another great method for marketing a movie.

Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice

Try Canva Pro to create film marketing graphics

Leveraging Social Media and Influencer Marketing

Social media has become an increasingly important tool for marketing a movie, and Barbie has been successful in leveraging this platform to promote its movie. The brand has a strong presence on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, where it shares behind-the-scenes content, sneak previews, and other exclusive content.

In addition to its own social media channels, Barbie has also leveraged the power of influencer marketing to promote the movie. The brand has partnered with popular social media personalities whose target audience aligns with Barbie's values.

Barbie Influencers

This strategic collaboration has allowed Barbie to reach new audiences and connect with consumers on a more personal level. These influencers share content related to the movie, such as reviews, sneak previews, and these personalities are thrilled to collect and review limited edition merchandise. By tapping into the audiences of these influencers, Barbie can create buzz around the movie.

User-Generated Content to Build Hype

In addition to creating its own content, Barbie has also encouraged user-generated content, such as fan art and fan videos. This content not only helps to build hype around the movie but also creates a sense of community among Barbie fans.

Furthermore, the marketing team created a selfie generator to invite fans to make their own Barbie-like posters, with their own phrases and photos. The official brand handle also posted the photos of cast using the selfie generator, thus attracting viewers.

Barbie selfie generator

The brand has encouraged fans to share their content for the movie on social media, using hashtags and other social media prompts to drive engagement.

I mean… Just look at how Barbie is taking social media by storm. According to Snack Content, a data intelligence platform, Barbie has experienced a whopping 191% increase in mentions on TikTok in the past year. That's a significant rise! Not only that, but videos featuring the hashtag #Barbie have been viewed over 9 billion times on TikTok alone. It seems like everyone wants a piece of Barbie on their screens!

But it doesn't stop there. In the first half of this year, TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels have used the #Barbie hashtag a staggering 145% more times compared to the entire previous year. That's a clear sign of how Barbie is dominating the social media landscape.

The impact of this social media craze goes beyond just online popularity. It has also created a buzz around the upcoming 2023 Barbie movie. UTA IQ's Quarterly Report, which delves into data, research, and digital strategy, reveals that two-thirds of Gen Zers and millennials who are excited about watching Barbie on the big screen mentioned that its memes played a role in their interest. That's right, those funny and relatable Barbie memes have captured the attention of young moviegoers.

Barbie Meme

Measuring Your Success - Marketing for Movies

No successful movie marketing strategy can exist without the ability to measure its success. Barbie has been successful in part because of its commitment to tracking metrics and analyzing data to inform its marketing decisions.

The brand uses a variety of tools to track engagement with its movies, including social media metrics, website analytics, and sales data. By analyzing this data, Barbie is able to determine what marketing tactics are most effective and adjust its strategy accordingly.

Build a website on Squarespace to market and promote your movie

Applying these Strategies to Low-Budget Indie Films

Now, as an independent filmmaker, you may be thinking… well that’s all fine and dandy for Barbie that has huge brand recognition and resources that come with a large corporation like Mattel, but what that gotta do with me.

Well, I want you to put that aside. Many of the film marketing strategies that the brand has used can be applied to low-budget indie films as well.

Here's how: First, you can leverage social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram Reels to reach and engage audiences. Also, create behind-the-scenes content, teasers, and interactive posts related to your film using popular hashtags.

Second, encourage user-generated content by inspiring fans to share their own artwork, videos, or challenges related to your movie. This advertising for movies build a sense of community and generates organic interest.

A good way to encourage user-generated content is to create a challenge and collaborate with influencers who align with your film's target audience. This expands your reach to a wider audience because obviously as a new filmmaker you may not have a huge audience yet. So, this is how you can grow your audience.

Fourth, focus on relatable and shareable content that sparks conversations and emotions among viewers. Finally, utilize creative storytelling techniques to capture attention, infusing humor, emotion, or a unique hook into your marketing content. By adapting these strategies, you can create engaging and buzz-worthy campaigns for your low-budget indie film.

expand your video content reach with REV captions

Lessons from Barbie's Marketing Success

By studying the strategies that Barbie has used to create box office success, marketers and filmmakers can learn valuable lessons about how to create engaging content that resonates with their audience and drives engagement with their brand.

Whether you're a fan of Barbie or simply looking for inspiration for your next marketing campaign, the box office success of the Barbie movie is a testament to the power of effective marketing and advertising for movies.

Now, let's float on the waves of possibility to achieve film marketing success with your own independent films. With a twirl and a leap, dive into an exciting new chapter with our online course, "Leveling Up Your Film Business," and equip yourself with the essential tools and knowledge to supercharge your film marketing game.

enroll in leveling up your film business to learn film marketing

Step into an enchanting journey of the ever-changing film industry marketing tactics! This course is designed to be your guiding star, providing you with the tools to craft a solid business plan, secure funding, and market your masterpiece with fearlessness.

With checklists, templates, and expert guidance at your fingertips, you'll be empowered to embrace your creative vision and steer towards your filmmaking goals with confidence.


So, now that you're armed with the knowledge of advertising for movies, it's time to embrace the power of marketing a film and connect with your viewers.

Remember, understanding marketing for movies is like having a road map that leads to success.

And hey, while you're at it, be sure to step into the power of social media marketing next. So you'll know how to promote to your target audience.

Final thoughts…

As independent filmmakers, Barbie's movie marketing success offers a wealth of valuable insights and inspiration. We've seen how effective marketing strategies, combined with the charm of a beloved icon, can propel a movie to extraordinary heights. So, what can we learn as we explore the marketing landscape of the film industry?

Embrace Your Unique Vision: Like Barbie, every independent filmmaker holds a distinctive creative vision. Embrace your film's uniqueness and let it shine. Be fearless in expressing your authentic voice to captivate audiences.

Key takeaways:

  • Leveraging Nostalgia and Brand Recognition: Barbie tapped into the emotional connection many people have with the brand, creating a sense of nostalgia that drew in audiences young and old.

  • Target Audience and Market Research: Understanding its target audience and conducting thorough market research allowed Barbie to tailor its film advertising and messages to resonate with viewers and their parents.

  • Incorporating Diversity and Inclusivity: By featuring a diverse cast of characters, Barbie's movie marketing strategy became more inclusive and relatable to a wider audience.

  • Utilizing Cross-Promotion and Partnerships: Strategic collaborations with other brands and organizations helped Barbie create additional engagement opportunities and expand its reach.

  • Leveraging Social Media and Influencer Marketing: A strong presence on social media, along with partnerships with influencers, allowed Barbie to connect with audiences on a personal level and generate buzz around the movie.

  • User-Generated Content to Build Hype: Encouraging user-generated content created a sense of community among fans and generated excitement for the movie.

As you navigate the ever-evolving film industry marketing, remember to stay true to your vision and seize opportunities to engage your audience through social media and user-generated content.

Let Barbie's magic inspire you to take bold steps and believe in your creative prowess.

Tips are appreciated for supporting this blog


Of course, Diversity in Cinema Academy has many other resources that I love to share with you, but I wanted to keep this blog strictly about marketing for movies.

If I had to pick two resources I couldn't live without for marketing a film, it would be these two tools:

Tool #1 - Canva

Aside from the tools above, I also use many other resources to help me prep for a movie production. Some of them are FREE and some are paid.

You can check out some of the other resources that I love using on Diversity in Cinema Academy's resources page. You can view all of the resources for Filmmakers, Content Creators and Screenwriters from the links provided.

From filmmaking tools, to content creation tools, to screenwriting tools... they all can be found in the tools section of Diversity in Cinema Academy's website. I highly recommend that you check out our tools store! :)

If you like it, please help me to share the resources link with a friend. I would really appreciate it!

Okay, that's all for now. I hope that you have found the information I provided helpful!

Enough information, now blaze your marketing path!



Diversity in Cinema Academy is an online digital media company that primarily uses web-based applications, such as an interactive website and social media platforms, to offer aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters an entertaining and educational place to interact with each other and professional filmmakers.


FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: @diversityincinemaacademy

"LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK: /dicacademy1


For more information, visit

Sign Up for Free Master Class the Hard Truth About Film Funding

297 views0 comments


bottom of page