Barbara Millicent Roberts has long been posed as the image of perfection—the woman who can do and be it all. It’s an image that, while meant to be aspirational for future generations of nurses, CEOs and flight attendants, has also gotten the 64-year-old Barbie into trouble with younger generations for encapsulating societal pressures and body expectations for young women.
That’s why the brand’s astounding pivot back into the cultural zeitgeist alongside its all-too-aware, live-action film is all the more impressive: TikTok is saturated by “Barbiecore,” early trailers and leaked images have fed the social media meme machine for nearly a year and practically every marketer under the sun has seemingly struck a brand deal. The film, which releases July 21, is merely the culmination of what will be remembered as the summer of Barbie.
The marketing strategy for the “Barbie” movie feels unprecedented due to the combined powers of Warner Bros. Picture and Mattel. And “Barbie” may portend a new era in branded filmmaking—in which studio and brand dollars work together for outsized consumer impact both in product sales and box office numbers.