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“Come on Barbie, let’s go party.”
Since making her debut in 1959, Barbie has become an inspiring and iconic (if sometimes controversial) figure across the globe. The doll and her gang have been the star of a variety of movies, TV shows, video games and merchandise, constantly evolving with the times.
The latest expansion of the Barbie universe is the highly anticipated blockbuster, Barbie.
Opening in wide release this week, it’s directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie in the titular role and Ryan Gosling as Ken — Barbie’s “ultimate accessory.”
This Barbie Knows Her Audience
The film offers up a dream-house-sized dilemma for the filmmakers and marketers: What should a Barbie movie look like in 2023?
In answering that question, the team took some smart steps – starting with knowing their audience.
Since the film was announced, it has garnered a lot of buzz, most notably on social media. Viewers knew from early on the film would focus on a more grown-up audience than the doll’s target demographic. The first teaser trailer, released in December 2022, was a take on Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In the months leading up to the film’s release, brands have jumped on the Barbie bandwagon (or pink convertible). Brands such as Xbox, Airbnb, Progressive, Forever 21, and Beis Travel all aim to invoke nostalgia in their partnerships and collaborations. That brand overlap benefits the film, too, which is eager to show its modern sensibilities.
Following a recent decline in sales, Mattel needed something new that would put the toy conglomerate back on top. The Barbie movie seems to fit the bill. Early reviews say the film “lives up to the iconic status and cultural significance of Barbie herself.” The film has excited generations with its whimsical set design, star-studded cast, and sense of modernity, while still upholding the nostalgic feelings surrounding Barbie.
Time will tell how the movie is received by audiences, but filmmakers took smart steps to strike the right tone and prepare audiences for the latest blockbuster film.
As the trailer states, “If you love Barbie, if you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.”