barbie mania, or how warner bros' creative marketing campaign painted the whole world pink

barbie mania, or how warner bros' creative marketing campaign painted the whole world pink



Barbie and pink here and there; Barbie and pink everywhere. In 2023, Warner Bros., Mattel, and Barbie are working hard to promote its movie, brand, color, and name worldwide. Starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, Barbie the Movie follows Barbie in her journey through the existential crisis that springs to her life and propels her to leave the Barbieland to cross over the real world. Released on July 21st, 2023, Barbie the Movie has smashed records worldwide, and it hasn’t even been a month yet.


According to a Deadline report, the Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling film surpassed 400 million USD in box office sales globally just four days after its release. This news may explain why people are eager to watch the movie as soon as possible, which is somewhat unusual nowadays due to the newfound habit and love for streaming, but there is one group from the ensemble of Warner Bros., Mattel, and Barbie that welcomes this global reaction with so much joy: the marketing team.

barbie pink marketing movie
image by Barbie the Movie





Thanks to the almost-endless pink marketing of Warner Bros. Mattel, and Barbie, internet citizens have jumped on the pink wagon, posting their Barbie-inspired and hot pink looks and glam on social media. Established and emerging brands have also taken the chance to put their own spin on the Barbieland phenomenon. Thousands of people are lured into the Barbie world with ads, clips, products, features, and even commercials popping up in Barbie pink. Playful and creative stunts have been churned out left and right, and the results either sneak up all of a sudden one day or are constantly fed for the viewers to digest.


These days, people seem to associate pink with Barbie and the movie, and the doll itself is almost shadowed by the color, the film, and the brand’s name. The association is amplified by the fans and brands that are taking advantage of the Barbie limelight to spotlight themselves before the novelty wears out (which may be deemed a trend on social media these days, where whatever’s popular is in). In reality, some of these brands have worked with Warner Bros. and Mattel to promote Barbie the Movie, becoming a medium to further disperse the pink mania, and we have rounded up some of them below.

barbie pink marketing movie
video still by Eye Studio via Instagram



Pink mania everywhere, FROM Chevrolet to superga


No one works harder to promote Barbie than its own marketing team. In return, people and brands follow, amplifying the pink and movie fixation. Even companies that might seem outside the niche target of the doll have come forward to offer their spin on Barbieland. Xbox recreates its device by turning it into a custom-built Barbie DreamHouse game console Series X, complete with custom controller faceplates inspired by Barbie and Ken’s on-screen outfits. It goes hand-in-hand with the playable Barbie’s classic 1956 Chevrolet Corvette EV — painted in her signature pink hue – and Ken’s 2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup in the video game Forza Horizon 5. Warner Bros. and Fangirl Fantasy even hosted a Barbie Boat Cruise on Boston Harbor to celebrate the release of the movie.


Even the food industry becomes a target for the Barbie marketing team. Barbie-inspired ice cream and yogurt hope to ward off the summer heat, the same period the movie was released, with Cold Stone Creamery’s pink cotton candy ice cream with graham cracker pie crust and dance party sprinkles, brushing against Pink Berry’s Barbie Land Berry Pink, a blend of strawberry and dragon fruit-flavored frozen yogurt topped with dream sprinkles. Both are even served in a Barbie cup as the cherry on top of the Barbie galore. When viewers look up ‘Barbie the Movie’, the search-results page gets shaded in pink and glimmers with pink stars too!


Accessories are also at the forefront of the Barbie game. Superga has joined forces with Barbie the Movie to develop an exclusive capsule sneaker collection inspired by the iconic doll in bright pink. The shoes are made from breathable cotton canvas, embellished with romantic graphics, fun pins, and all-over prints featuring the summer icons of the Barbie universe. NYX Cosmetics attempts to woo the fans with its Barbie makeup collection, seemingly paying homage to those who grew up applying makeup to their own Barbie dolls. The all-pink makeup sets come with lip gloss and cream, a pencil kit, a cheek palette, and a Barbie flip phone that doubles as a portable mirror.

barbie mania, or how warner bros' creative marketing campaign painted the whole world pink
image by Xbox


image by Xbox


warner bros. and mattel put Barbie at Burj Khalifa


Warner Bros. and Mattel keep nudging Barbie-inspired features to rise to the surface, and one of them is the all-pink makeover of Barbie’s iconic Malibu DreamHouse. A month before its movie release, Airbnb brought back the Malibu DreamHouse to its listing, even pinkier and flashier than before after its full-out renovation. The concept even shifted from the Barbie narrative by spotlighting Ken as the core of its redesign. The DreamHouse has been tailored to reflect Ken’s personal style and interests, now boasting rollerblades, cowboy boots, and a garden grill in its flashy pink fashion. Lots of people are aware of Barbie and might associate it with pink and the movie – does the Barbie marketing team need to churn out more?


A ‘yes’ seems to be the answer from the Dubai-based social media agency Eye Studio when they posted an augmented-reality video of a building-sized Barbie stepping out of her box before stopping right next to the Burj Khalifa. The doll is fitted with the outfit that Margot Robbie wears in the teaser trailer of the movie, and looking at the sharp quality of the video, viewers may think that a real-life stunt has taken place in Dubai when, in fact, Eye Studio was the mastermind behind it. With the booming success of the Barbie movie, more of these creative ploys might still bubble up, but when did the whole Barbie craze begin?

barbie pink marketing movie
image by NYX Cosmetics



Remember the AI barbie selfie generator?


When Barbie’s first teaser trailer dropped in December 2022, the minimalist short video, inspired by the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, had viewers speculating on the plot of the movie. It generated discussions online – with some agreeing with others’ theories while others offered their own take – enough to keep viewers talking about the upcoming film. While the trailer is stripped of the loud pink that is obviously visible these days, the end of it shows Barbie’s name in neon pink and bold style, alluding to the start of an almost-infinite-pink journey.


The viewers also saw their childhood dreams coming true in the Warner Bros. film: no longer would the doll remain as a plastic figure or a character in animation, but as a full-length feature played by real people. The branding that Mattel has established for decades awakens the inner child in viewers and attracts new fans due to the initial hype it spurred. Little did viewers know, the teaser was just the beginning of the marketing team’s bag of tricks.


In April 2023, Barbie unveiled the movie posters with the actresses and actors posing as their characters, sandwiched between the giant ‘Barbie’ logo and a glittering pink background that resembles a sticker and Mattel’s signage. Soon, viewers noticed that each Barbie poster had a slogan that depicted the character’s role in the movie. It was a prelude to the launch of the Barbie Selfie Generator, which uses artificial intelligence to turn any picture into a Barbie movie poster. The generator gave the public a chance to mimic Barbie and write their own witty captions, making the movie, rather than the doll, relatable and increasing their excitement for its release.

barbie pink marketing movie
image by Burger King Brazil via Twitter



warner bros. and mattel boost barbie pink


The science behind remembering and associating pink with Barbie might stem from color psychology and brand memorability. As mentioned in a report by the University of Southern California, brands tend to break through the saturated market by interrupting old patterns, creating comfort in this new space, leading consumers’ imagination, and allowing them to shift their perspectives toward the branding until they cement their trust and associations.


Barbie’s experienced and risk-taking marketing team may have taken notes and employed a mass of box-ticking strategies as they launched and spurred their Barbie fantasy brand after brand, feature after feature. To a degree, Barbie has blown up in creative, and perhaps extreme, ways possible, engaging the public to join the pink ride. It might be safe to say that this 2023 Barbie has worked hard.


image by Airbnb

barbie pink marketing movie
image by Superga

barbie pink marketing movie
image by Pink Berry


image by Barbie the Movie


project info:


name: Barbie the movie

company: Mattel

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