If you haven’t noticed the sprinkles of pink on everything from bus shelters to billboards lately, we’re going to guess you’ve been living under a rock as the countdown to Warner Bros. Barbie movie has hit Australia.

From the community generated content to the pink Barbie mansion on Airbnb, we’re now all living in a Barbie world.  

Sometimes in the land of marketing, more is MORE, but businesses don’t always need an A-list cast and a big budget to make waves.

In fact, a great marketing strategy will find the sweet spot between innovation and budget, so smaller brands can take a leaf out of Barbie’s book on how to blend innovation and creativity [on humbler scales] and still get noticed.  

Here I dive into my 3 favourite marketing strategies the Barbie movie nailed, which you should consider when launching your next campaign. 


why was the Barbie movie launch a viral success? 


take advantage of AI and interactivity   

In April, we can safely say social media was taken by storm with AI generated selfies of people inside the Barbie posters. Fans were encouraged to make their own Barbie-like posters, with their own phrases and photo imposed on brightly coloured backgrounds.

There’s a bucket of reasons why this campaign worked [nostalgic, easy-to-use, and customisable content is always a winner], but at its core, creating a personalised poster was fun to do and most importantly, share.

People wanted to be a part of something, and the posters tapped into the goldmine of viral meme-culture [every marketer’s dream!].  



what can businesses take from this? 

Whilst simple, combining AI and interactive marketing is the winning formula for viral sharing. If you haven’t heard of interactive marketing before, it’s the strategy that uses engaging images or visuals to get consumers to engage with your content. 

People are fascinated by AI, and using it on an interactive platform is a one-way ticket to creating user-generated content [UGC]. Essentially, you’re getting free promotion through UGC, avoiding the need for large ad spend.  

The Barbie AI selfie taught the industry that interactive marketing is worth focusing on, particularly for those businesses in the B2C space. After all, in a world where AI is quickly growing and our screen time could be considered a hobby, this is one strategy worth taking advantage of.  


think outside the box with guerilla marketing 

Something that’s trending in the marketing space right now is guerilla marketing, and the Barbie campaign has nailed it.

Don’t worry, this strategy doesn’t include gorillas, rebellion or conflict, but it does drive publicity and raise brand awareness among large audiences using unconventional methods, designed to evoke surprise, wonder, or shock. 

Take these Barbiefied bus shelters for example. Vibrant, eye-catching and disruptive, Warner Bros.’s decision to paint the town pink keeps Barbie at the forefront of customers’ minds.

Visually, the film is larger than life, and injecting some of this into real life draws the audience into the spectacle. 


Brisbane’s own James Street ‘painted-pink’. Source: businessDEPOT


what can businesses take from this? 

The aim of guerilla marketing is to generate buzz. And it doesn’t only need to be in the flesh nowadays either. Recently, Maybelline created an entirely CGI generated mascara commercial that went viral.  

With guerilla marketing, you want something that’ll stop people in their tracks and make them feel compelled to share. Creating buzz and awareness is the name of the game here. 


“Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s CGI”. Maybelline’s latest commercial captivated and later shocked viewers once they found out its entirely CGI generated.


combine forces through collaboration 

When the Barbie movie wasn’t out, it’s 30 something plus partner collaborations were! Ever since the teaser trailer went live, there was a flow of collaborative merchandise.

From nail polish, shoes, dental hygiene products and clothing to name a few, these collaborations are encouraging us all to think pink.  

Even the metaverse has swooped at the chance to be a part of the celebration, with Xbox hosting a contest where one winner will receive a pink console. Players of Forza Horizon 5 will also get an in-game replica of Barbie and Ken’s cars from the movie.  


Grill’d adding a touch of pink to their menu. Source: Grill’d  

Closer to home, Aussie burger chain Grill’d has joined forces with Warner Bros. to create the Dreamburger. If you’re curious to get your hands on one of these instagrammable burgers, they’re now available in all Grill’d restaurants across the country. 


what can businesses take from this? 

If there’s a lesson for marketers here – or even business owners- its that sometimes great marketing shouldn’t feel like marketing. Instead, your marketing should be an invitation to experience something exciting, and there’s no better way to do that than bringing strong brands together!

Not only do businesses get to reach a wider audience, create new content and promote each other’s products, but they get to foster relationships and build trust between brands.  


key takeaways from the Barbie marketing campaign 

You don’t have to look far to see the Barbie marketing campaign has been a huge success [everyone was talking about the movie BEFORE it was even out!]. There’s no denying the scale of Barbies marketing strategy and the cast involved that has contributed to the buzz.

But when you get down to the nitty gritty details of the campaign, its true success was driven by user generated content, collaborations and disruptive marketing.  

Business owners can look to the campaign for inspiration and cherry pick what they’d like to emulate. So long as you prioritise creativity, innovation and an connection with your target audiences, you don’t need the big bucks or A-list cast to get noticed.

What do you think of Barbie’s marketing strategies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.  


we’re here to help 

If you need a refresh on your marketing strategy, give the team at businessDEPOT Marketing a buzz on 1300BDEPOT or get in touch via marketing@businessdepot.com.au to discuss how our team can help you. 


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