Life in plastic, it’s fantastic.
The buzz surrounding the Barbie movie is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The film came out on Friday, and is expected to rake in $93 million this weekend alone. As expected, the release was anything but ordinary. Influencers hosted Barbie brunches to celebrate and TikTokers sported their best Barbie-inspired looks to the theaters. I forgot to snap a picture of my outfit, but it was outstanding. Trust me.
If I’ve heard about the Barbie movie a dozen times, I’ve heard about their marketing team TEN dozen times. “Bravo to Barbie’s marketing team.” ‘Whoever’s on their marketing team deserves a raise.” “That Barbie marketing person is a genius.” At least that’s what all my fellow marketing nerds are saying (hey friends).
There’s a reason it’s all we’re talking about. The mammoth-sized campaign to push this movie is one they’ll teach in marketing courses for years to come- even if the movie flops. The team from Mattel and Warner Bros. managed to develop an entire pop culture movement in the last 18ish months, one certain to shape the future of movie marketing, and reestablish an already iconic, 64-year-old brand.
A quick overview. The film’s marketing features over 100 marketing partnerships. So, if you think you’ve been seeing an awful lot of pink lately, that’s because you have. Bloomingdales, Dr. Martens, PinkBerry, Fossil, Aldo, Bumble, Crocs, and Zara- just to name a few. Pink billboards, which contain only the film’s release date, have appeared in cities worldwide. A pink Barbie DreamHouse was built in Malibu, which superfans can rent on Airbnb. A Malibu Barbie Cafe opened in Chicago ahead of the premier, and a pink Tardis popped up at Tower Bridge in London.
Of course, some collabs are ridiculously far fetched. Like Burger King’s Barbie-themed bacon cheeseburger with a mysterious pink sauce. Or X-box’s rollout of a Barbie-themed console and game controllers. Because what’s the only thing missing from your Call of Duty strategy? Barbie. Duh.
We haven’t even scratched the surface- or mentioned the movie’s A-list cast, the soundtrack that includes the likes of Dua Lipa and Nicki Minaj, or Margot Robbie’s red carpet parade of Barbie-inspired fashion.
At first glance, the approach seemed to be “color everything you can PINK. And slap that Barbie logo on it.” And sure, there was a lot of that. But the Barbie team absolutely nailed the art of not only building hype, but doing so with an incredibly diverse strategy. Think of the endless tactics and channels in which they reached the consumer. The playlist featuring global pop stars connects with viewers culturally. The viral selfie generator allows fans to recreate their own movie poster, not only embracing the brand as their own, but allowing for shareable content. Brand collaborations across a multitude of genres expand the Barbie name beyond its traditional toy category. Hotels, cafes and a real life dream house offer fans real life Barbie experiences.
The nostalgia that comes with the Barbie name could’ve carried the film far enough, but instead, the marketing team only used it to catapult the brand into a highly anticipated event, and today’s most exciting cultural conversation.
Threads is here.
Meta officially launched its Twitter competition, Threads, and the app is off to a strong start. In less than a week, Threads received 100 million signups, including a large number of brands, celebrities and journalists. The latest buzz has everyone questioning whether the app could end up being the “Twitter killer.” Sounds dramatic, but we’re here for it.
Here’s the low down. The Threads platform looks a lot like Twitter, with a feed of largely text-based posts, inviting users to host real-time conversations. The app has a 500-character limit, and allows users to reply to, repost and quote others’ Threads post (sound familiar?). But Threads certainly has a heavy Instagram influence, offering the Gram’s existing aesthetic and navigation system. Users can also share posts from Threads directly to Instagram Stories.
Zuck says “The vision for Threads is to create an option and friendly public space for conversation.” Sounds nice enough. But, what’s the difference in the blue bird and the… black rope things? Currently, there are no paid tiers and ads on the app. However, your fancy check mark from Insta does carry over. Cue the sighs of relief.
A downfall, Threads doesn’t have any timeline that shows posts only from accounts you follow. The home timeline is algorithmic and is a mix of posts from accounts you follow and other folks. The app also doesn’t support GIFs. And since GIFs are my main means of communication, I’m skeptical to say the least.
The Hollywood strike.
Last Thursday, the US actors’ union Sag-Aftra called a strike after the breakdown in negotiations with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) which represents the studio bosses. The union called for its members to pull out of any production anywhere in the world. Anyway to know if the strike will effect the release of The Bear’s third season? Asking for a friend.
What’s with the picket line? Well, the big tension is surrounding terms of residuals, which are payments that performers receive for repeat showings of films or TV shows. Sag-Aftra negotiators are demanding residuals partly based on viewership levels on streaming services, but the studios aren’t willing to share that information. And to no one’s surprise, streamers like Netflix and Amazon aren’t exactly chiming in either. As shows and films on streaming platforms become even larger and more widely watched, the potential residuals could be a significant amount. Hence the crickets from Netflix and Amazon.
Another big debate is AI. Over the last decade, AI has found several uses in the movie and television industry, from de-aging actors, using voices of late actors, and even helping stitch together entire movie trailers. Allegedly, Hollywood studios brought forth a proposal to use “groundbreaking AI” to scan background performers for a one time fee. The companies would then own the scans, and use them for any project they want. The actors’ union responded with something along the lines of “ummm… no.”
Best of the Week
Follow the Trends
- The workers in emerging markets being displaced by AI. Fascinating, and a little scary.
- The real story behind Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” That’s the other movie you should see this weekend.
- Someone paid over $190K for a 4GB iPhone from 2007, still in original packaging. Money well spent.
- Popeye’s puts a TikTok trend on the menu. The biggest news in all this? People are still going to Popeye’s.
- Amazon’s pay by your palm technology is coming to Whole Foods soon- which will help ease your pain when you buy a $15 apple.