If you’ve yet to hear the “Hi Barbie” phrase over the last couple of months, you’ve likely been living under a rock.
Barbie-mania has been a hot topic for lovers of the global iconic doll ahead of the much-anticipated film release last Friday. (So much so, that the “Babiecore” hashtag has been viewed 371.9 million times on TikTok).
Like many people in the communications space, the Commerce team has watched the brand collaborations and partnerships in the run-up to the film launch with avid interest.
So, with 100 brand collaborations and counting to choose from, here are our top three takeaways from brands that we believe have done it ‘right’:
Selfridges’ famous Corner Shop, the permanent pop-up space housed in the Selfridges London flagship, has had an official Barbie makeover ahead of the film launch. This includes a vanity station where you can book Barbie-inspired treatments and Barbie’s wardrobe that has shoppable and rental edits inspired by Barbie’s iconic outfits. The clothing edit is also shoppable online, ensuring a seamless omnichannel experience for shoppers.
Beyond the Corner Shop, there are costumes from the film on display in another area of the London store, as well as pop-ups at the Selfridges Toyshop in London, Manchester Trafford and Birmingham. The Selfridges cinema has also had a makeover with pink tickets, cocktails, and popcorn ready for showings of the film.
Takeaway: Think about the full shopper experience.
Offering a multi-layered experience allows powerhouses like Selfridges to target a whole variety of shoppers whether that’s toy lovers, beauty addicts or simply film fans who want a luxe cinema experience.
As the prerelease marketing for the film commenced, we quickly saw partnerships from clothing and accessory brands, including Aldo and Gap, announced. Both collaborations landed well, with sell-out items kitting out fans wanting to jump on the “Barbiecore” trend.
However, high street giant Zara launched its Barbie range just one week before the film’s release and tied the designs closely to a selection of the film’s costumes and outfits worn by Margot Robbie during the press tour. This tactic took advantage of Zara’s dynamic supply chain that can deliver from design to store in four to six weeks and had buyers in a frenzy with certain pieces selling out within hours of the launch.
Takeaway: When you “follow the crowd”, find your USP.
When a trend like “Barbiecore” has longevity and the momentum is only building, it pays to hold back and find your brand’s unique angle to appeal to what shoppers really want. This worked particularly well for Zara, who could very quickly turn around replicas of the hottest styles from the film’s trailers and press tour.
Crocs released a range of Barbie Crocs and Jibbitz – charms for the clogs that are a popular addition for wearers. By releasing the branded Jibbitz to embellish Crocs shoppers already own, this allowed the brand to engage with new and existing fans.
The US drop of the Crocs sold out within hours and the UK online availability, which launched this week (24 July), is also close to selling out.
Takeaway: Create limited editions of existing popular products.
As the fastest-growing brand of 2022, Crocs created a range that both attracts new customers, as well as offering an exciting new addition for existing customers, broadening the appeal of the range. Beyond the sellout range, Crocs also has a host of unofficial pink offerings, to satiate those who aren’t able to get their hands on the Barbie official range.
Whether you have a big brand budget to deck out a dedicated retail space or approach a partnership with a smaller-scale tactical move by updating shoppers’ favourite products; brands have truly embraced the Barbie pink hype and reaped the rewards as shoppers flock to deck themselves out in “Barbiecore”.
Honourable, non-Commerce mentions (because who doesn’t love post-credit scenes!):
Airbnb: The holiday property rental company launched a bright pink Barbie Dreamhouse in Malibu, California. The launch came complete with an iconic Architectural Digest video which saw Margot Robbie providing a tour of the house.
Warner Bros: The film company behind the production released a Barbie Selfie Generator that uses the power of AI to transform photos into a Barbie movie poster, which links back to the nostalgia of the brand and created organic buzz on social media.
TFL (unattributed): This simple photoshopped image changed the Barbican Tube Station sign to “Barbiecan”, and went viral across social media ahead of the UK premiere.