HomeEntertainmentMattel's Barbie is a...

Mattel’s Barbie is a hit. Retailers and restaurants want in | CNN Business



New York
CNN
 — 

During its first few days in theaters, “Barbie” raked in $337 million globally in the box office, the largest opening weekend of 2023 so far. But even before the numbers came in, “Barbie” was a merchandising hit.

The film had been generating hype for months, thanks to a star-studded cast, beloved director, dazzling aesthetic — and a seemingly endless array of Barbie-themed merchandise.

In June, brand strategist Moshe Isaacian started keeping track of the official partnerships on Twitter. A scroll through his thread shows, among other things: A gaming console, pair of shoes, hotel, house, insurance commercial, a candle, rugs, nail polish, roller blades, a toy car, a lunchbox, dog apparel, a toothbrush and several other items emblazoned with the Barbie logo, awash in hot pink.

Isaacian has posted about roughly 50 partnerships. That’s, almost literally, the half of it: Mattel, maker of the iconic toy, has made over 100 brand deals for the movie, which is distributed by Warner Bros. (CNN and Warner Bros. are both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Richard Drew/AP

A man poses in a large Barbie doll box at Bloomingdale’s in New York, ahead of the movie’s release.

For marketers, “Barbie” has turned into a massive opportunity: A rosy, fizzy way to get new customers – of all ages – and stay culturally relevant. That’s always a good opportunity, but especially so in the current environment, where even seemingly benign marketing campaigns can be controversial.

And it’s not often that so much attention is focused on a single event, like a movie premier.

“We live in such a fragmented world, that it is really hard for events to break through the clutter,” said Tim Calkins, associate chair of the marketing department at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “These shared moments, when they really catch on, have enormous power.”

For some bars and restaurants, Barbie mania has led to a rush of patrons.

In the spring, when Barbie memes started leaving their glittery trail across the internet, the team at Wunder Garten, a beer garden and event space in Washington, DC, started to take notice.

Around that time, it started planning Barbie parties: Celebrations with themed cocktails, pink food and plenty of opportunities to show off Barbiecore outfits in the Instagram-friendly venue, including life-size hot pink Barbie and Ken boxes.

“We were expecting a very big turnout, and we got a very, very big turnout,” said Leana Chavez, assistant manager at Wunder Garten.

From wundergartendc/Instagram

A Barbie-inspired cabana at Wunder Garten.

Meanwhile, retailers have used partnerships to boost product sales.

Candle maker Homesick has been selling a Barbie Dreamhouse candle with notes of sweet peony, rose bush and pink jasmine, among other scents. The candle drove a 39% increase in sales in June, year-over-year, according to Lauren McCord, General Manager of Homesick. And most of that came from new customers: Over 70% of Dreamhouse purchases were made by new clients.

The Barbie brand is particularly powerful because it appeals to multiple generations, noted Christie Nordhielm, an associate teaching professor of marketing at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

By marketing Barbie products to adults, large retailers may be able to get them to buy similar products for kids.

“Parents, or possibly other family members, will gatekeep on whether this product comes in,” she said. With Barbie products that appeal to grown-ups, marketers are “getting that interactivity between adults and children, that bonding,” which can also be used as a selling point.

Gap may benefit from this aspect of the marketing. The clothing retailer offers a Barbie line that includes Gap and Barbie branded t-shirts, jackets and more, for both kids and adults. A Gap spokesperson noted that the collection “has been killing it across all categories.” The relationship between Gap and Mattel runs deep: On Wednesday, Gap announced that its new CEO will be Richard Dickson, who currently serves as Mattel’s president and chief operating officer.

Richard B. Levine/Levine Roberts/ZUMA Press

Barbie themed merchandise at a Gap store in New York.

In retrospect, and with huge box office numbers under its belt, it seems clear why so many companies would want to work with “Barbie.” But partner products were conceived and launched well before the movie premiered, when there was a possibility that it wouldn’t be so well received. During that period of uncertainty, they may have been soothed by the sheer volume of partnerships.

In other words, if “Barbie” was a flop, they’d all go down together.

There are plenty of ways for “Barbie” to have gone wrong.

The doll itself has a spotty history, and with its inhuman proportions has been accused of upholding unrealistic beauty standards. Plus, movies in general are not a safe financial bet: Aside from breakthroughs like “Barbie” and Oppenheimer, box office sales have been disappointing, making a sluggish return after pandemic-era theater closures.

David Canales/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

Some Barbie decoration at a Zara store in Gran Via street in Madrid on July 22.

And there was no guarantee that people would like the movie. Some might still see Barbie as anti-feminist, or anti-male, and the movie as little more than a major corporate effort to boost the doll’s sales. Others may have been turned off by the relentless marketing, especially for a movie with a message that (spoiler alert) people don’t need to buy products to feel good about themselves. And then there’s the fact that “Barbie” was directed by a woman and marketed to women, which can inspire online trolling.

For brand partners, “there was some risk that this movie might be a total bomb,” said David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton business school. But that risk was “dampened by the fact that others are doing it. And so if we look bad, well, we’re not alone.”

Mike Blake/Reuters

A lucky few could stay at Barbie’s iconic Malibu Dreamhouse, in Malibu, California, via Airbnb.

But while there have been calls to boycott the film, they don’t seem to have gotten much traction. Now, with everything coming up Barbie, marketers may lose out by staying away.

“I think there is a risk of not doing it,” Reibstein said. “If you happen to be a retailer and you see the other retailers doing it, you sort of feel like you need to be on the bandwagon… and not miss whatever Barbie wave there might be.” At this stage, that may mean using the success of “Barbie” to market pre-existing hot pink products.

But with everyone going in, it becomes even harder to stand out.

If your promotion is too similar to another, “it’s going to limit the lift that you get, because it’s just more of the same,” said Northwestern’s Calkins. Once you see one Barbie-pink nail polish, for example, you probably won’t be wowed by another.

Isaacian, who started the Twitter thread, thinks Mattel has been strategic in choosing its partners, even though there are so many.

From Cold Stone Creamery/Facebook

Cold Stone Creamery’s Barbie-themed ice cream in a Barbie-themed cup.

“They’ve really done a good job of making almost all parts of the movie feel tangible,” he said.

For Reibstein, the collaboration that stood out was the Airbnb Malibu Dreamhouse. Staying at the Dreamhouse is free, but Airbnb only made it available for two nights in July.

Prior to those dates, model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen shared photos of herself and her family in the Instagram-friendly house, including one boomerang video of her in a hot pink outfit and Ken-inspired roller blades.

Nordhielm pointed to Cold Stone Creamery’s Barbie pink cotton candy ice cream as a standout. “It”s a happy product, it’s a family product,” she said.





Source link

Most Popular

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

Read Now

Team India Squad for T20 World Cup 2024 Announced: Here’s India’s official team for T20 WC – Republic World

India T20 World Cup squad announcement | Image:APTeam India's squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2024 has been announced. On Tuesday, the selection committee led by chief selector Ajit Agarkar convened in Ahmedabad and zeroed in on a 15-member unit, which they deem is the...

Justice Minallah says state has to protect judges, independence of judiciary

Justice Athar Minallah on Tuesday said the state had to protect the judges and the judiciary’s independence as the Supreme Court took up a suo motu case pertaining to allegations of interference in judicial affairs.A six-member bench resumed...

Stock futures slip slightly as investors look ahead to Fed decision, megacap earnings: Live updates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on February 29, 2024 in New York City. Michael M. Santiago | Getty ImagesU.S. stock futures fell slightly Tuesday morning after a positive start to the week, as investors brace for megacap earnings,...

Europe’s Economic Laggards Have Become Its Leaders

Something extraordinary is happening to the European economy: Southern nations that nearly broke up the euro currency bloc during the financial crisis in 2012 are growing faster than Germany and other big countries that have long served as the region’s growth engines.The dynamic is bolstering the...

Trump’s Plans for the Fed Make No Sense, Even for Him

A second Trump administration might be very different from the first, and that includes how the president treats the Fed. Donald Trump complained a lot about the US Federal Reserve when he was president, jawboning for lower interest rates and questioning its competence. Yet at the...

Police to launch raids to find migrants to deport to Rwanda, Cabinet Minister claims

Police will mount raids to find missing migrants so they can be deported to Rwanda, a Cabinet minister has said.Health Secretary Victoria Atkins was commenting on reports that the Home Office has lost contact with thousands of people who are set to be removed from the...

The French #Metoo Scandal Unraveling in Weinstein’s Shadow

French actor Gérard Depardieu was ordered to stand trial for allegedly sexually assaulting two women on a film set three years ago, marking the latest legal escalation for the 75-year-old movie star who has become a central figure in France’s #MeToo movement.The announcement coincides with a...

Hong Kong Bitcoin and Ether ETFs Have Soft Debut

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired...

Customization Overview | Halo Infinite CU32

Operation: Banished Honor arrives on April 30 and you’re gonna want to look the part! After all, the Banished welcome all who pledge their service to Atriox, and your new allegiance and mindset demands a new outfit, so let’s find out more about the customization that...

T20 World Cup 2024 Squads: From India To Australia, Check Here Team-Wise Full Players List, Venues, Fixture, Timings And More

ICC T20 World Cup 2024 Cricket Matches Full Schedule: The T20 World Cup 2024 promises to be an exhilarating showcase of cricketing talent from around the globe. With teams from various nations competing for the prestigious title, fans can expect intense matches filled with thrilling moments...

How the Twins’ summer sausage celebration got made: It sparked the offense, but should they eat it?

CHICAGO — With Abe Froman unavailable, I called sausage expert Elias Cairo to address Rocco Baldelli’s concerns about a potentially hazardous pre-encased meat currently residing in the Minnesota Twins clubhouse.Nearly a week after it arrived and with the package showing visible signs of wear, tear and...