top of page

Join 900+ Readers



The Barbie Movie - A Masterclass in Pre-launch Strategies

The Barbie Movie Poster
The Barbie Movie Poster

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past month you may have found yourself unexpectedly thinking all things Barbie Pink!

With its innovative strategies, collaborations, and immersive fan experiences, the Barbie movie marketing campaign has rewritten the playbook for movie marketing and is a masterclass when it comes to an effective pre-launch marketing strategy.

Even if you aren’t a Barbie fan, you should study its marketing pre-launch Strategies. I found so many ideas but for the sake of trying to keep this newsletter to a decent length I've managed to distill some of the ideas into 8 keys pillars.

I am also gonna say: Marketing will never be a “one rule fits all”. For every Barbie Movie Campaign, there's an Oppenheimer film launch that's equally as successful.

So let's dive in

Barbie Pink Poster with just the release date July 21

A Pre-launch marketing strategy is a range of marketing efforts focused on generating buzz and excitement for your new product or service before it launches. The goal is to build up anticipation and interest so your customers will be eager to buy from you when launch day finally arrives.

But first, The science behind it: The Curiosity Gap is described as the space between what we know and what we want to know. The less a person knows about a topic, the wider "the curiosity gap." Your goal is to tease your audience just enough to make them want more.

And while The Barbie Movie has what may seem a bottomless budget these ideas are budget free


While most companies give themselves a time frame of 4-6 months before a launch The Barbie Movie's pre-launch strategy was in full swing long before the movie was even made.

Speculation about a Barbie Movie first began in 2015, after a "leaked" Sony email revealed Margot Robbie was among the actresses potentially being considered to play the famous doll.

Margot Robbie as Barbie sitting in a pink car

The first official look of Margot as the iconic doll came in April 2022 during CinemaCon.

  • Start your build-up with plenty of time to allow you to test your audience's reaction as well as plan ahead for collaborations.

2/ DRIP FEED TEASERS It's only natural to want to tell everyone everything when you’re launching your product and while most movie trailers give away key moments in the movie, the Barbie Movie‘s first teasers gave enough information then let their audience try to fill in the blanks. But everyone knows what a "Barbie" movie is - right?

The Barbie Movie's Teaser Trailer Tomorrow

Robbie told the Hollywood Reporter. "The goal is to be ‘Whatever you’re thinking, we’re going to give you something totally different – the thing you didn’t know you wanted."

And it's definitely working - The Barbie Movie's Teaser trailers pull on several mental triggers. It doesn't try to be something brand new instead, it anchors the audience in the well-known concept of Barbie (Nostalgia, Classic clothes, the colour pink and Ken being Just Ken) to keep their existing customers happy as well as gather a whole new following by leading them to the unknown.

The very first trailer parodied the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” giving viewers a taste of the movie’s tone and introducing the main characters all without a single hint about the plot. Adopt a Teaser mindset

  • Slowly release sneak peeks into your product features and collaborations. You could talk about the story behind your idea, show different components or close-up product shots, or part of the packaging. Remember just enough to peak their interest but don't reveal too much.

3/ SECURE YOUR AUDIENCE There’s an entire generation of people that have grown up with Barbie and feel an attachment, but despite Barbie's target audience being girls under the age of 12, the Barbie movie director Greta Gerwig says the target audience for the film is anyone from eight to 108 with the trailer boldly declaring, “If you love Barbie, this movie is for you. If you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.”

The Barbie movie made a deliberate shift to focus primarily on adults and not young children. The shift allowed them to leverage social media and online platforms, include brand collaborations, and immersive fan experiences, that would appeal to an older demographic.

  • Feel free to shift your target audience if it makes sense for your brand. Most launches herald a change in your services or a new direction so use it to your advantage and tailor your marketing strategies to where your audience are the most active.

  • Get your superfans in on the event

Poster with Barbie and Ken for a Skate Party

The Barbie Movie knows they have a group of superfans, and actively invite them to feel part of their exclusive events, with people planning their own pink slumber parties and Barbie Movie Soundtrack Preview Parties to pop up Pink rooms in hotels and restaurants

  • Hang out where your audience are

  • Offer them an incentive to spread the word


Following on from selecting your audience one of the best methods to turn fans into superfans is to tap into their emotions and entice them to spend more time with your product, through an experience.

Barbie's Dreamhouse on Air BNB

The Barbie Movie Embrace Nostalgia: Our childhood is charged with powerful memories and influences more than any other time in our life by activating core memories your audience will feel an instant bond. Nostalgia connects past positive memories and feelings and generates excitement by attaching them to new ones.

The Barbie Movie Makes Your Fantasy a Reality: You may not think you can become Barbie in her DreamHouse, but, what if you could? By making the impossible feel possible, the Barbie Movie has created magic for the child in us.

Barbie limited edition xbox

5/ ORGANISE A PRE-LAUNCH GIVEAWAY & COLLABORATE Give your product away to an exclusive group of lucky participants The movie collaborated with brands like Xbox and Airbnb to create a series of unforgettable product partnerships.A pink, Barbie-branded Xbox console with a specially crafted model Barbie Dreamhouse for docking, was created for fans to win.

These collaborations helped amplify the movie’s reach and diversify its audience, tapping into fanbases of brands that would not typically work with Barbie

  • Create a challenge or run a contest on your social media platforms

  • Make sure the prize is exclusive to your brand


Social media of all the Barbies and Kens

When the second teaser trailer launched rather than just focusing on its two main stars it showed its diverse cast (over 24 characters) with each cast member simultaneously sharing on their social media their custom-made AIs in the signature Barbie packaging style. This approach helped the campaign reach a wider audience, and grab attention without giving too much away.

Get your Team onboard

  • Before you launch get your team up-to-date with how to write and post on social media for maximum exposure

  • Tap into your own community of influencers, superfans, and brand partners to spread the word about your new products.

  • Be consistent with your message and lean into a signature image or tagline that can be used over everyone's platforms


The London Eye lit up in Barbie Pink

Part of a successful product launch is having other people write about you. Most of the Barbie Movie's promotion came from the sheer amount of publicity gained from other media outlets. You may have seen Barbie's iconic pink or read the cast's interviews such as Gosling revealing that Gerwig and Noah Baumbach's "Barbie" screenplay is "the best script I've ever read."or when Architectural Digest was invited for a personal tour of the dreamhouse set by Margot the quote "They used so much pink in their sets that there was a global shortage!" all add to the wow factor.

  • Create shareable content and make it as easy as possible for them to do so.

  • Consider what type of content would make your target market want to stop and share. Are you entertaining, informing, inspiring or challenging?

  • Be visual - a picture does say a thousand words

  • Create Soundbites - Use words that are clear and easy to recall: for example: Alliteration, Rhymes and Imagery

8/ TEST AND KEEP TESTING When the movie's cast first got together for their first press junket fans were disappointed to see the assembled cast dressed in boring neutral colours with only Margot dressed in Barbie Pink. It was a learning curve for subsequent press tours where the cast's wardrobe was given a more co-ordinated makeover

The Barbie Cast

The Barbie Movie Cast

  • Treat your launch as an experiment. Some things will work, and some won’t; the only way to find out is by going for it.

  • Don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t go the way you planned.

  • Collect as much data as possible and use your learnings to make your next pre-launch campaigns even better.

Do you know someone who would love to get better at communicating and writing?

Invite your friends to sign up using the link or share directly on your social.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page