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Seven marketing lessons businesses can learn from Barbie the movie

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie shattered expectations, becoming a sensational hit that surpassed all industry projections. From the very beginning, it was evident that this film was going to be special, with viral photos of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling roller-blading along Venice Beach as Barbie and Ken capturing the attention of audiences worldwide.

Box Office Triumph: Barbie’s journey to box office supremacy was no ordinary feat. The film broke box office records for the most commercially successful film by a female director, earning over $356 million globally during its opening weekend. Its success continued, adding another $50 million in tickets during just the first two weekdays. Barbie’s allure overshadowed traditional summer action blockbusters, leaving films like Mission Impossible seeking audiences in her vibrant pink shadow.

Daring Marketing Strategy

The film’s marketing strategy played a pivotal role in its success. Warner Bros’ president of worldwide marketing, Josh Goldstine, revealed that the team took bold and unconventional steps to differentiate the Barbie movie from conventional perceptions of the iconic doll. They created teaser trailers, including a homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” which showcased girls in a prehistoric desert playing with baby dolls, then dramatically smashing them on rocks after a giant Barbie appears. The marketing campaign aimed to challenge expectations and communicate the film’s groundbreaking narrative.

“In marketing, it’s essential to think outside the box and be willing to push boundaries. The 2001-inspired trailer showcased our commitment to taking Barbie where no one expected, setting the stage for an unforgettable cinematic experience,” said Goldstine.

Barbenheimer: A Social Movement

The film’s marketing also gave rise to the Barbenheimer phenomenon, an organic movement driven by the audience itself. The film’s authenticity and powerful storytelling generated widespread support, leading people to embrace and celebrate the movie in unique and creative ways.

“The Barbenheimer movement took a life of its own. It’s one of those rare instances where the internet united people, creating a love letter to the film and the movie business,” explained Goldstine.

Lessons for Business Owners

  1. Break the Mold: Don’t be afraid to challenge conventional norms and take daring creative risks in your marketing campaigns.
  2. Embrace Organic Growth: Leverage the power of social media and internet communities to amplify your brand’s message and build authentic connections.
  3. Focus on Message, Not Just Budget: Invest in captivating storytelling and resonant messaging to connect with your target audience on a deeper level.
  4. Be Courageous: Dare to poke fun at your brand, challenge norms, and step outside your comfort zone to engage your audience authentically.
  5. Make People Feel Seen: Incorporate inclusive and diverse elements that allow your audience to feel understood, appreciated, and empowered.
  6. Embrace Shared Social Events: Create collective experiences that engage your audience, fostering brand loyalty and word-of-mouth promotion.
  7. Empowerment Sells: Understand the deeper needs of your audience and offer empowerment and inspiration through your brand.

Goldstine emphasized, “Barbie’s success speaks to the hunger for bold, original storytelling. As marketers, we must remember the power of shared experiences and the significance of connecting with our audience on a profound level.”

As you embark on your marketing journey, let Barbie’s pink movement of empowerment be a guiding light, inspiring you to embrace creativity, authenticity, and courage in every campaign. By learning from Barbie’s remarkable marketing success, you can elevate your business and achieve unprecedented growth.


Julia Ager, Director & Marketing Strategist | Jus Agency 

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