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Thinking Outside the Box: The Barbie Marketing Campaign Raises the Bar

The Barbie movie has taken the world by storm and covered it in a cloud of pink. Long anticipated by fans of all ages, the movie has generated excitement and curiosity with its promise of bringing the beloved doll to life on the big screen.

Since her inception, Barbie has been a cultural icon, best known for her fashion sense and diverse range of professions. Now, longtime Barbie fans and new ones alike have joined forces to create the Barbie movement - nothing short of a phenomenon, thanks to the Warner Bros marketing team. Everywhere you go, Barbie seems to follow. Social media platforms are flooded with user generated content about the movie, clothing brands are releasing specific lines of Barbiecore apparel there is even a real-life Barbie Dreamhouse in Malibu on AirBnb. While the estimated budget for this campaign was quite large (about $150 million large), the box-office success and global response has been incredible. Join us while we dive in to the details of this campaign and see why it gets our Symetric stamp of approval. After all, it seems like we are all living in a Barbie world – and it’s fantastic.

Unveiling the Unexpected

Upon the announcement of the Barbie movie, I’m certain that many people had an idea in their minds of what this movie would be like, but director Greta Gerwig, known for her work on Lady Bird & Little Women, delivered beyond our greatest expectations.

The movie aims to capture the essence of Barbie's adventurous spirit and showcase her as a dynamic and relatable character. With an emphasis on empowerment, self-discovery, and embracing individuality, viewers can expect to resonate with the movie’s positive and inspiring message. Without giving too much away (no spoilers here!), Gerwig created a movie that has layers of humor, emotion, inspiration, and reflection. With its blend of entertainment, meaningful themes, and the opportunity to explore Barbie’s universe in a new dimension, it is far more than the fluffy, light-hearted Barbie movie that everyone was anticipating.

In fact, the depth and themes in the movie served as somewhat of a shock-factor for viewers, leading the topic of Barbie to carry through long after the movie had ended. Many viewers quickly took to social media, expressing their thoughts and reactions on social media, creating viral trends on TikTok and Instagram.

Not only did the Barbie movie live up to the hype, but it evoked such strong emotions that movie fans took the marketing into their own hands afterwards. This brings us to the next point, Barbie’s success of encouraging user-generated content.


User-generated content (UGC) has emerged as a dynamic and influential force in modern marketing campaigns, reshaping the way brands engage with their audiences. This phenomenon involves consumers actively participating in content creation, ranging from reviews and testimonials to photos, videos, and social media posts. Since the announcement of the Barbie movie in 2022, UGC surrounding the movie has been steady, however, when the movie released in theatres on July 21, 2023, there seemed to be a pink explosion of Barbie UGC everywhere you looked. For example, The AI-powered ‘Barbie Selfie Generator’ was an instant hit and rapidly became something that everyone wanted to share on social media. Even the songs on the Barbie movie soundtrack became the backbone of viral TikTok trends, an honorable mention to Ryan Gosling’s “I'm Just Ken” for empowering all of the Ken’s of the world.

One of the key advantages of UGC is its potential to foster authentic connections between brands and consumers. Unlike traditional advertising, UGC emanates from genuine user experiences, establishing a sense of credibility that resonates with potential buyers. This authenticity not only builds trust but also taps into the innate human desire for relatable narratives, making the marketing message more compelling.

UGC serves as a powerful tool for enhancing brand visibility and expanding reach. When users share their own content featuring a brand's products or services, they inadvertently become brand advocates, amplifying the campaign's reach far beyond what traditional marketing methods might achieve. Social media platforms have provided the ideal playground for UGC to flourish, enabling brands to harness the viral potential of shared content. As UGC spreads across various social networks, it generates a ripple effect that can lead to increased brand awareness and engagement. Warner Bros did such a great job at encouraging UGC with their marketing campaign, they engaged their audience in such a way that they felt connected to the Barbie movie and involved in the release

The phenomenon of user-generated content has revolutionized marketing campaigns by infusing them with authenticity, expanding their reach, and fostering active audience engagement. Leveraging UGC like the Warner Bros marketing team did with the Barbie movie, empowers brands to tap into the power of user narratives, establishing a more genuine and resonant connection with consumers. As UGC continues to evolve, its positive impact on marketing campaigns is set to persist, continually adding to the ever-changing marketing landscape.


As marketers, we applaud the incredible campaign for this Barbie movie and acknowledge that much of the success of the Barbie movie marketing campaign can be attributed to a strategic fusion of contemporary storytelling and hints of nostalgia that resonated with a diverse audience and made them join in on the Barbie-movement.

By leveraging Barbie's iconic status as a cultural symbol and tapping into the emotional connection many individuals have with the brand from their childhood, the campaign harnessed the power of nostalgia to generate excitement and anticipation. The marketing efforts evoked fond memories by creating a sense of familiarity that captured attention, however, it was the movie's modern take on the classic doll that kept people wanting more.

The marketing campaign featured a multi-channel approach to reach audiences across different platforms. From engaging social media content that encouraged user-generated posts to interactive online games and contests, the campaign fostered active participation, transforming viewers into enthusiastic brand advocates. Another successful component of the campaign was the strategic partnerships with brands, such as Airbnb, where together they created a real-life Malibu Barbie Dreamhouse (hosted by Ken himself) – which of course was a huge hit!

The Barbie movie itself was successful in telling a compelling and emotionally relevant story, and the marketing team carried that through every aspect of the campaign. By emphasizing the many themes that viewers could expect from the movie, they ignited widespread interest and excitement. This ultimately resulted in surpassing box office expectations and solidifying Barbie's status as a timeless cultural icon.