At Giraffe Insights we work with brands to help them better understand how they can effectively reach and engage younger audiences and the recent success of the Barbie movie cannot be ignored!  Here we talk about the strengths of their strategy and how they have created a Barbie euphoria across the globe.

Bonkers for Barbie

Barbie has undoubtedly taken over headlines and advertising boards across the globe in recent weeks. Barbie’s successful marketing campaign has led to huge sales, outperforming all expectations and breaking box office records for the most commercially successful film by a female director, bringing in more than $356m worldwide during its opening weekend. Barbie has continued as the top film globally for the second weekend in a row, pulling in over $122 million outside of the U.S. for a worldwide haul of $215 million. To-date, Barbie has earned nearly $775 million globally, making it already one of the highest-grossing films of the year.

It’s good news for Mattel as whilst the knock-on effect of the film on sales may take time to realise, they will no doubt benefit from the this highly successful release. Mattel, COO Richard Dickson stated “As we’ve seen, the success is far beyond the film. We all see the world is playing with Barbie, whether it’s our toys, fashion, accessories, or content… there’s no doubt that the brand has reached a new level of cultural relevance.”

An extraordinary marketing strategy

Creating meaningful connections

It was impossible not to know the Barbie film was coming even if you tried. The film launched alongside more than a hundred bright pink branding deals, from Barbie sparkles when you search it on Google, to Barbie-endorsed home insurance, a sold-out line of Barbie Crocs, and even inspired crowds of moviegoers to show up in matching pink costumes. Barbie film branded merch and collaborations are everywhere – you could build an entire closet out of them! These include a collection with Gap, Barbie x Bloomingdales, hot pink roller suitcases with luggage brand Beis, a capsule collection, more makeup and skin care sets than we’re willing to count, and the furniture brand Joybird even has a slate of Barbie Dreamhouse-inspired seating to adorn your home with.

Barbie’s marketing strategy used a seamless integration of digital platforms into their campaigns. From engaging social media content to interactive websites, they knew how to captivate their target audience in today’s digital age. For example, we know from our proprietary piece ‘Little Voices’ that on average kids are most likely to see adverts on YouTube and TikTok, which is where the majority of Barbie adverts were showcased.

Another aspect that makes their marketing strategy stand out is the focus on storytelling and creating meaningful connections with the audience. They understand that’s it’s not just about selling dolls or movie tickets, it’s about immersing viewers in a world filled with imagination and empowering messages. It’s all about bringing what Barbie stands for to the real world. With Giraffe Insights’ regular survey ‘Little Voices’ placing Barbie as the second favourite kids toy brand above PlayStation, the impact these messages can have on kids is immense.

Innovation and creativity

Brands are always looking for innovative strategies and tactics to capture attention, engage audiences, and drive growth. There are valuable lessons we can learn from this ingenious approach by the Barbie marketing team. From embracing digital platforms wholeheartedly to forming strategic partnerships that amplify brand visibility and from prioritising storytelling over simple product promotion, down to honing branding techniques for maximum impact.

The Barbie marketing team understood the power of creating content that captures the attention of their audience and has the potential to go viral. They prioritised innovation and creativity to ensure their content stood out and thus had a higher potential for engagement and virality. For example, the extensive use of the colour pink throughout the campaign was especially effective with our Little Voices survey indicating that 20% of kids say they would now like their dream toy to be the colour pink.

Themes of empowerment and inclusivity capturing the hearts of all

The Barbie movie emphasised themes of empowerment and inclusivity, promoting diverse representations of characters. Brands should be aware of this approach and incorporate diverse and authentic storytelling that reflects the varied experiences and backgrounds of people across the globe. It is themes like these that enabled the Barbie movie to expand its reach from targeting only children to including adults through content that appeals to both audiences. This strategic approach can encourage marketers in the future to examine their own target segments and assess whether their efforts are directed toward the most profitable and effective areas. Understanding these different audience segments allows brands to tailor their messages and strategies to resonate with specific groups, ultimately achieving better results.

Barbie is a stark reminder for brands of the importance of a well calculated marketing strategy that capitalises on contemporary trends and themes to capture attention, engage audiences, and drive growth. Brands can learn from Barbie’s successful marketing strategy and innovative research to increase the reach and perception of their products in a way that sets them apart from competitors.

Want to find out more about effective media strategies and how to reach and engage audiences? Then please get in touch!


  • Giraffe Insights – Little Voices N = 550 Kids aged 2-12