Seeing pink: Brands hop on “Barbie” bandwagon amid movie buzz


With movie stars prohibited from promoting the new “Barbie” film amid the actors strike, toy company and Barbie doll-maker Mattel has been working overtime to help keep the movie top of mind ahead of its release on Friday.

Mattel has teamed with various consumer brands which have formed licensing agreements with the toy maker to release limited-edition merchandise. Brands ranging from luxury apparel to fast food aren’t hesitating to paint their worlds pink to cash in on fan interest in the film.

“It adds some buzz and excitement to their line in the slow summer period. It’s classic merchandising tied to a movie, which is good and bad,” Allen Adamson, co-founder and managing partner of Metaforce, a marketing and branding agency, told CBS MoneyWatch.

There’s no real downside for Mattel and Warner Bros., the studio behind the film, to partnering with dozens of consumer brands. But whether or not the partnership proves successful for Airbnb, Balmain, Crocs, Gap and other Mattel collaborators, may depend on how popular the film is with audiences. 

“For merchandisers, it’s only good if the movie is a success,” Adamson said. “If the movie is a thud, everyone is going to be putting a lot of pink merchandise on sale.” 

From haute couture to fast food 

Clothing and jewelry makers such as French fashion house Balmain and jewelry maker Kendra Scott, pool float-maker Funboy and home-sharing service Airbnb have all teamed up with Mattel to create Barbie-themed products and experiences. Airbnb has a listing for a one-night stay at Barbie’s Malibu Dreamhouse, while department store Neiman Marcus is exclusively selling a Balmain x Barbie collection. A hoodie from the limited-edition line retails for $1,350.

Then there’s fast food joint Burger King, which in Brazil is selling burgers with a pink-colored sauce for a limited time. 

Brands are riding the wave of excitement around the Barbie Movie, hitting theaters Friday.

Barbie Burger King Brazil

Mattel and clothing maker Gap also struck a deal to release a Gap x Barbie apparel collection featuring Barbie-branded T-shirts, hoodies, button-down shirts and more, available at 

“We are excited to partner with Gap to combine Mattel’s iconic brand portfolio with Gap’s signature products,” Josh Silverman, chief franchise officer and global head of consumer products at Mattel, said in a statement announcing the deal.

There’s even a Barbie-inspired reality television competition. Discovery-owned television channel HGTV launched the series, called “Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge” hosted by supermodel Ashley Graham earlier this month to coincide with the movie’s release. Eight different teams will give a Southern California home a Barbie-style renovation, with one team’s design being declared the “Dreamiest” at the end of the series. 

Live like Barbie for a night

These are just some of the official partnerships. There are also companies without formal agreements in place that are going pink to see some green, with pink cocktails, digital filters and more. Mattel did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment on Barbie-themed product releases. 

To draw attention and promote listings on their websites, vacation rental companies and VRBO, both owned by Expedia Group, compiled a list of pink properties “for anyone looking to live like their favorite pink-obsessed doll.”

The properties include this listing for a pink, A-Frame style house in Texas, available for $400 a night. The sofa, refrigerator, tableware and towels? Also pink. 

Live like Barbie for a night or two at this all-pink house listed 


For Mattel and Warner Bros., the glut of Barbie-related merchandise is a good thing, according to Adamson.

“It’s all good for Mattel because it’s more visibility for the film. You don’t have to be in the theater to pay attention to Barbie. You see it everywhere you turn.”

But from other brands’ perspectives, there may well be too much merchandise for consumers to choose from. 

“All these brands are trying to hook their sales to and catch the wave of the Barbie buzz this summer. They all want to use it to catapult them from their invisibility,” he said. 

Whether the movie is a blockbuster or bomb, store discount racks could soon be inundated with the pink merchandise. 

“It’s good if the movie is a success and people see it. If the movie is a bellyflop, then everyone has an egg on their face. It needs to be more than flash in pan, and we don’t know if the buzz will last a day, a week, a month or longer,” Adamson said. 


Source link

Leave a Comment