Barbie: Lessons From A Movie Juggernaut Attracting Mega Brands

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Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie that debuts globally this Friday in theatres has tens of brands investing in all kinds of collaborations, collections, products and sponsorships. At a scale perhaps never seen before.

Companies are curating special collections inspired by the iconic doll and Margot Robbie, who plays Barbie is scorching the social media. A US-wide event titled “Barbie Blowout Party” will allow some select audience members to see the comedy a few days earlier than the commercial release date, on July 19, 2023 .

Barbie will go head-to-head this Friday against another blockbuster film with a massive ensemble cast – Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. For now though the pink brigade seems to be far far ahead in terms of viewer interest – mostly fanned by the pre-hype created by all of Barbie’s brand partners, most of whom have created large offerings to win the love of millions of Barbie fans worldwide.

Let us run through some of the Barbie tie-ups that have either been already launched or will be unveiled in the next couple of days:

1. Moon

Moon is the official oral partner of the upcoming Barbie movie. Moon has introduced a limited-edition Barbie x Moon electric toothbrush and a Barbie x Moon bubble mint whitening toothpaste. Both the products have pink packaging and the toothbrush has five custom sonic modes.

2. Primark

Primark’s Barbie capsule collection features as many as 73 unique pieces across womenswear, menswear, nightwear, beauty and accessories, inspired by Barbie’s nostalgic style.

’80s-themed athletic garb that Robbie and Ryan Gosling wear in the movie is also available for purchase at Primark.

3. Mattel

Mattel themselves have unveiled an entire Barbie doll collection to celebrate the movie. Robbie’s Barbie doll is priced at $50. It wears the same style of clothes as Robbie in the movie – a pink gingham dress, a sequin ’70s style jumpsuit and even a Western cowboy inspired outfit that looks pretty outdoorsy. There are dolls too that are Ryan Gosling as Ken, Simu Liu as Ken 2 and Issa Rae as the President Barbie.

4. Superga

Shoe brand has released a collection that adds a Barbie-themed tweak to its classic sneaker styles. Among them is its signature 2750 cotton canvas sneakers and the cotton canvas 2802 style sneakers ‘re-imagined’ with ar extra-heightened pink platform.

5. Gap

Gap released its Barbie collection featuring denims, pet apparels, logo hoodies, accessories and much more in both Barbie branding and Gap’s famous arch typeface.

6. Funboy

Funboy released a pool float collection inspired by the new movie, in five unique styles. One of the standout items in the collection is the Iconic B Inflatable Pool Float ($59), which is shaped as the literal letter “B.” The collection also offers a speedboat-shaped pool float ($109) which grows into a 9-foot-long luxurious daybed fit for one to two adults. The collection is said to be a sell-out.

7. Kitsch

Kitsch too is actively riding the Barbie wave with a limited-edition collection that features hair accessories inspired by Barbie’s iconic style, including scrunchies, heatless hair curlers and satin pillowcases. Among the lineup is a dainty marble claw-clip ($14) with the “Barbie” logo in dazzling pink rhinestones. A big hit!

8. Beis

Beis, the travel accessory brand founded by Shay Mitchell has also tied up with the movie and launched a special Barbie collection – The Mini Weekender, The Rollers, The Cosmetic Case, The Travel Wallet and The Passport and Luggage Tag Set, all in Barbie-themed colorways. Sale opens only two days prior to the premier.

9. Pacsun

Lifestyle clothing brand Pacsun has collaborated has put out a Barbie collection that is inspired by the ’90s. The collection includes activewear, denim, loungewear, swimwear and accessories. The four key stvles in the collection include Workin’ Out Barbie, Malibu Beach Barbie, Celebration Barbie and Back to School Barbie. The collection’s prices range from $16 to $89.

10. Boohoo

E-tailer fashion Boohoo has launched a limited-edition collection with 39 styles – from ready-to-wear and accessories. Price points for the collation range from $8 to $65.

11. Aldo

Aldo launched a 19-piece in pinks including Malibu Fuchsia, Malibu Pink and Soft BB Pink. The collection includes footwear, handbags and accessories. It is headed to be a bestseller line already.

12. Rue 21

29 pieces of graphic logo shirts and matching sets have been put out as part of the Barbie collab.

13. Kendra Scott

This one is a jewellery collection – three necklaces, two bracelets, and four pairs of earrings, all in designs that combine both the jewelry brand and Barbie elements.

14. Crocs

Crocs is presenting a pink-themed shoe collection, which includes the

“Barbie The Movie” Mega Crush Clog. The shoe features almost three inches of height, glitter wrapping around the midsole and fibbitz, charms inspired by Barbie’s iconic doll world. The collection is available with prices ranging from $19.99 to $74.99.

This list of Barbie partners is not exhaustive. Others like Bloomingdale’s, Forever 21, Hot Topic, Spirit Halloween too have Barbie movie tie-ups.

The question obviously is why the Barbie mania?

Barbie has long been an emblem of childhood memories and nostalgia for millions of people worldwide. Collaborations with retailers and brands are tapping into this sentiment. By incorporating Barbie into their products or displays, retailers are hoping to leverage this emotional connection.

Additionally, in recent years Barbie has embraced diversity and inclusivity, collaborating with organizations, influencers and brands that celebrate various ethnicities, body types and backgrounds. 

Consumers appreciate these collaborations, inspiring a broader audience and fostering a positive impact within the retail industry.

Collaborations between Barbie and other popular brands or influential figures create a strong cross-brand synergy. Consumers who are loyal to a particular brand or who admire a specific personality may be enticed to explore Barbie collaborations. 

These collaborations extend the reach of both Barbie and the partnering brand.

Well, all the marketing hype not withstanding, I am headed for a FDFS – first day first show – viewing. A Barbie on the big screen is surely going to be fun to watch.

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