As one of the year’s biggest blockbusters, “Barbie,” the movie due out July 21, has spawned over 100 collaborations with retail partners and marketers. Yet determining which brands to team up with is a lengthy and involved process—in this case, Barbie owner Mattel started working with film producer Warner Brothers more than a year ago on how to drive returns beyond the box office.
Behind Mattel's marketing strategy for 'Barbie' and what's next for the brand
“We're going after a broad audience and really trying to ensure that we are everywhere,” said Lisa McKnight, executive VP and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, speaking on the latest episode of Ad Age's Marketer’s Brief podcast. “We want to make sure that the brands that we partner with stand for inclusivity and are reflective of the world that we all live in and share our values.”
Read more: 'Barbie's' dream brand collaborations
Those partnerships include a Barbie X Impala exclusive rollerskate that has already sold out, a merch deal with retailer Hot Topic and a Barbie-inspired cotton candy flavor ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery. More mashups will be revealed in the next two weeks.
“The brand is everywhere and the buzz could not be louder,” said McKnight.
On the podcast, she also discusses how Mattel markets the Barbie brand to different generations such as parents and their Gen Alpha kids. Mattel recently introduced a Barbie YouTube channel for adults, for example.
McKnight also talks about how Mattel plans to continue the momentum of Barbie-mania, particularly through 2024, the brand’s 65th anniversary.
“We got an opportunity to sort of recontextualize what people think about the brand, post-movie and then this broader audience,” she said, noting that Mattel will be “developing more programs from a lifestyle standpoint, from a digital gaming standpoint and a doll standpoint.”