Warner Bros. studios and Mattel have fast-become a marketing machine to build excitement for the new Barbie movie (opening July 21) – with a creative strategy that takes pretty in pink to a whole new level. Big budget? Definitely. Profitable? Almost certainly.
Even before the movie release date, the film is dominating conversations and social media is buzzing. Barbie has been a hot pink marketing explosion that goes above and beyond any traditional movie promotion. But without the A-list cast and (reported) $billion budget, Mattel and Warner Bros. have used some classic marketing tactics in the mix that we think any small business can mimic.
- Tactic 1: Brand Collaborations - Leveraging Shared Audiences and Halo Effect
Barbie's brand collaborations with AirBnB and XBox showcase the power of joining forces with other businesses. The AirBnB collaboration involved listing the iconic Malibu Dream House, where fans could experience the magic of Barbie's world. Similarly, partnering with XBox led to the launch of limited-edition Barbie-themed games consoles, captivating gaming enthusiasts and Barbie fans alike.
For small businesses, brand collaborations can be equally fruitful. By teaming up with complementary brands, you can tap into shared audiences and expand your reach. Moreover, a well-chosen partnership can create a halo effect, where the positive perception of one brand extends to the partner brand, reinforcing brand trust and desirability. When entering a brand collaboration, ensure alignment in values and target demographics, and jointly create unique experiences or products that delight your customers.
- Tactic 2: The Use of Color - Guerilla Marketing to Stand Out
Barbie's association with the color pink has become iconic, and the hot pink marketing campaign for the movie has left a vibrant mark on various locations. From pink bus stops in LA to pink-painted hotels and the entire Malibu Dream House donning the color, the campaign is a masterclass in using color to create a strong visual identity.
For small businesses, the strategic use of color can leave a lasting impression. For example, a baker wanting to jump on the Barbie bandwagon could create a limited edition hot pink version of their bestselling item, such as a croissant or an éclair with hot pink icing, aligning your brand with the blockbuster movie while visually standing out. Color association can trigger emotional responses and help build brand recognition. Choose colors that resonate with your brand's identity and message. Consistently incorporate these colors across various touch-points, including branding, packaging, and marketing materials, to create a cohesive and memorable visual identity.
- Tactic 3: Events - Fostering Engagement and Personal Connections
Barbie's branded events, such as cruises and spa days, have proven effective in fostering engagement and creating memorable experiences for fans. Events provide a unique opportunity to connect with your audience on a more personal level, strengthening brand loyalty and generating positive word-of-mouth.
Small businesses can also harness the power of events, even on a modest budget. Hosting online events, such as webinars, live streams, or virtual workshops, can help reach a wider audience while keeping costs low. Alternatively, in-store events like private shopping evenings or crafting workshops can create an exclusive and immersive experience for customers.
Events offer a platform for showcasing your products or services, gathering valuable feedback, and building a community around your brand.
Barbie's hot pink movie launch provides valuable insights and inspiration that even a solo-preneur can adopt as part of their own marketing strategy.
By adopting brand collaborations, strategic use of color and hosting engaging events, small brands can make a big impact, forging meaningful connections with their audiences and gaining a competitive edge in the market. With creative and thoughtful execution, the possibilities are limitless.
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