How a marketing strategy turned the whole world pink

MCH Global's Strategic Planner, Yoana Zaneva takes a look behind the Barbiemania that's taking over the world

Picture Source: Warner Bros.

The Barbie movie campaign is flooding the summer with more than 100-plus collaborations and countless headlines.

The marketing teams at Warner Bros. and Mattel worked overtime to ensure that even if you didn’t plan on seeing the movie, you would still stumble upon brand touchpoints to the point where the movie may have caused a global pink paint shortage.

As we anticipate Barbie’s regional release in the UAE on August 10, 2023, let’s explore what brands can takeaway from this innovative marketing strategy.

Amplifying impact through collaborations 

Picture Source: Airbnb

From makeup to roller skates, the Barbie collaborations are not easily missed. But beyond the sheer number, what makes this trend captivating is the range of interests it covers.

Expected partnerships with NYX Cosmetics and Zara catered to makeup and fashion, yet the Barbie team went a step further by incorporating something for everyone.

See also: Behind Barbie’s viral video at Burj Khalifa


From gamers, who can now enjoy exclusive Xbox content, to foodies relishing Burger King’s pink sauce burger, and even people who can experience Airbnb’s Dreamhouse inspired by Ken.

Brands can leverage collaboration not only to connect with their core audience but also to resonate with entirely new ones.

Embracing the discourse

Picture Source: Deadline

Summer blockbusters hit theaters, with Barbie competing against Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, both releasing on the same day in some markets.

The dramatic contrast between Barbie’s fantasy comedy and Oppenheimer’s epic drama sparked internet discussion, culminating in the term “Barbenheimer” as fans planned their double-feature day.

While this may not have been a Warner Bros.-approved marketing technique, the team embraced this trend, generating even more hype.

This example shows the importance of remaining adaptable to unexpected shifts, even if they don’t conform to the original marketing plan.

Content may be king, but UGC reigns supreme

Picture Source: Mattel

During the movie’s teaser, social feeds flooded with personalised Barbie movie posters. Done with an AI tool, this allowed anyone to upload their photo and generate a poster with the tagline “This Barbie is ____.”

AI empowered fans to actively engage in the Barbie world with personalised content.

Marketing teams can get inspired by the creative use of tech, making it easier for consumers to share custom content. Embrace this approach and wait for the internet to do what it does best: produce a treasure trove of relatable content.

Rarely does a film turn into such a cultural touchstone, as a Barbie fan but more importantly, a marketer I can’t wait to see brands adopting the lessons learned from the Pink Publicity Machine that is the Barbie strategy.