On July 21, 2023, Barbie premiered in theaters and generated $70.5 million that same day. The movie went on to bring in more than $155 million in ticket sales over opening weekend in the U.S. alone.
The Barbie movie’s massive success comes from their masterful omnichannel marketing. Months before the movie premiere, we started seeing the world turned pink so comprehensively that consumers around the world began to associate all of the color pink with the brand—both consciously and subconsciously.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best omnichannel marketing lessons from the Barbie movie that had the whole world thinking pink.
7 Omnichannel marketing lessons from Barbie
Omnichannel is the future of marketing, especially as the lines blur between online and offline, and eCommerce and retail. The buyer’s journey no longer looks like a straight line from discovery to purchase, but more like a child’s scribble on a notepad.
Someone might discover your brand through an influencer they follow, look up your website, subscribe to your newsletter, price check on Amazon, and then finally make a purchase on your Instagram store.
The Barbie movie has internalized this well, and brought us some of the best lessons in omnichannel marketing we’ve seen in decades.
1) Leverage brand partnerships
We’ve been seeing Barbie merch everywhere lately, from Barbie-inspired makeup, roller skates, game consoles, burgers, accessories, froyo, and more.
Partnership marketing is an excellent way to put your brand in front of wider audiences that overlap with yours, but also bring in some new consumers into the discussion.
With Barbie’s strategic brand partnerships, they were able to reach the audiences of their partnered brands and further permeate the corners of the online and offline world with pink.
2) Connect with your audience
The Barbie movie marketers purposefully ran campaigns, released content, and partnered with brands that would resonate with their audience.
From vacation inspiration, to clothing collabs, and even down to your favorite food, consumers who love Barbie could find ways to show they were a fan while still purchasing from their regular brands and shops.
In addition to marketing tactics that would delight their audience, the movie (or “product”) itself unapologetically leans into the female aesthetic.
As TIME so aptly puts it, “The death of the big-screen rom-com hastened the death of movies marketed to women. Like all mid-budget films, they fell out of favor with studios eager to earn big bucks on comic book adaptations or awards gold with cheaper ventures.”
In a world where only 33% of top films feature solo female protagonists, quality movies made to excite and delight women is something that is sorely missing from a Hollywood that wants to play it safe and appeal to everyone.
3) Maintain cohesive branding
What is one thing that everyone associates with the Barbie movie and their marketing? Pink.
Be it clothing, food, or even houses, Barbie marketing has stayed true to their #e0218a shade of pink across all of their marketing campaigns.
When you deploy your own omnichannel marketing, things can quickly get jumbled and messy, both internally and for your audience. It’s easy to fall into fragmented marketing, where consumers moving from your Instagram posts to your website get confused about whether they found the right website.
To combat this, lean in to a central aspect of your branding and follow a brand guide. Not every brand will be so iconic as to claim an entire color, but you can leverage your unique combination of fonts, colors, and graphics for cohesive and recognizable communication across channels.
4) Inspire joy (and virality)
What do we do when we find something that brings us joy? We share it with our loved ones.
The Barbie movie used tactics like creating a selfie generator where anyone could turn themselves into their dream version—Barbie is, after all, everything. She has had virtually every job there is, from astronaut to president.
The Barbie team also created an entire website for the Barbie album, which featured widely-loved artists such as Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, and Billie Eilish. The songs themselves are well-composed and quite catchy, too!
Pink even bled into the world of gaming, where Xbox released a limited edition Barbie dreamhouse console and game controllers—which I admit I looked up how to get since you can’t buy them no matter how much you want to.
5) Don’t write off organic
While it’s true that big budgets make big waves, you don’t need to break the bank to leave an impression.
Barbie leveraged plenty of organic marketing tactics to help get their message out. Yes, they renovated an entire house into Barbie’s dreamhouse and put it on Airbnb, but they also inspired plenty of news and PR around their launch.
The buzz had everyone talking about Barbie, and it flowed from the news into social media. Blog posts (like this one), hashtags, and even a custom Barbie emoji flooded the Internet in preparation and response to the Barbie movie.
6) A rising tide raises all ships
The Barbie movie marketing started such a large wave, it did the marketing for an entirely different movie!
Have you heard of Barbenheimer? The same day that Barbie was released in theaters, another film juxtaposed with the Barbie brand also went live; Oppenheimer.
The simultaneous release dates had critics and fans alike talking about how the two movies contrasted each other so greatly—which then inspired even more discussion.
Popular social posts started flooding feeds where a group of friends dressed in Barbie pink would show up for a movie, the ticket-seller would ask “which movie?” and the group would answer “Oppenheimer.”
7) Turn every successful campaign into a set up
There aren’t many campaigns as massive and successful as the Barbie movie marketing, but one of the reasons so much was invested into it was because it served as the starting line for an entire Mattel cinematic universe.
The wildly successful Barbie movie has now successfully set up upcoming movies featuring Barney, Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels, American Girl, UNO, and more.
Take this lesson into your own omnichannel marketing by ensuring that every landmark campaign you plan has a purpose that goes a step further.
If you are investing time, money, and effort into a complex omnichannel marketing campaign, one of the goals of that campaign should be to set up your next one for success as well.
Wrapping up — Learn from Barbie’s powerful omnichannel marketing lessons
The Barbie movie has taught us a lot about omnichannel marketing, and what a successful and well-executed campaign should look like.
Outside of the value in-movie lessons, Barbie’s omnichannel marketing lessons show us that collaboration, cohesive branding, and word-of-mouth can generate marketing success both online and offline.