The biggest story of the summer of 2023 is, delightfully, Barbie. The Barbie movie broke box office records for opening weekend ticket sales and had the best opening weekend for a woman directed movie. It finally got people back into the movie theatres with lots of fluorescent pink Barbiecore streaming across our devices and screens, inviting us to join in and have fun.
The Barbie movie earned $580 million in its first week and will easily rake in over $1 billion globally. Now Mattel’s Barbie doll, she is as popular as ever with more than 100 marketing tie-ins with leading brands and lots of fall and holiday merchandising ahead.
When you look at Barbie, the B is for brilliant. But the story from a disruptive retail perspective is not the Barbie of 2023, it is the start of Barbie in 1959. Here’s how Barbie began as a disruptor.
MASS MARKETING TO KIDS, SPECIFICALLY YOUNG GIRLS
The Barbie doll debuted in 1959 in New York City at the American International Toy Fair. Barbie was created for girls, not parents. Young girls were the core buyer and Barbie was a best friend, ready for role playing and building dreams. Barbie empowered girls to think and explore, imagine, and create. Barbie has had some controversy, but has mostly succeeded in transforming with the times.
BRILLIANT LINE EXTENSIONS STARTING IN 1959 AND CONTINUING TODAY
Barbie needs special things to well, be Barbie, so to the girls who remain the core buyers, having lots of choices for clothing, shoes, accessories, cars, and houses is imperative. These line extensions and collaborations continue the sales after the first purchase of the doll. And today, you can even experience Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse for rent on Airbnb.
BARBIE CAN BE ANYTHING YOU IMAGINE
Lately forums on NPR discuss paradormirmejor.org the Barbiecore phenomenon and women call in to recount stories of crafting outfits for their Barbie out of paper or sewing tiny outfits from cuttings of fabric. Barbie can be anything that an individual dresses her to be. When Bob Mackie started working with Mattel in the 1980’s, he brought Barbie glitz and glamour. Mackie helped Barbie transform into a superstar and reach a wider audience with a greater variety of looks and clothes and body types. Once again, Barbie transformed with the times.
Barbiecore is a movement that embraces all things Barbie, and it is in the metaverse, too. Mattel joined forces with Forever 21 to bring Barbie to Roblox and offer a digital collection to match the physical clothing collection, inspired by Barbie, which consists of seventy-six items that can be purchased online, in select stores and in the metaverse. In early 2023, Mattel Creations partnered with Balmain to create a Barbie avatar and digital Balmain pieces that are “barbie-sized” and in the form of NFT’s. Barbie is helping girls innovate and explore the metaverse.
BARBIE MARKETING EFFORTS EMBRACE DISRUPTIVE RETAIL
Disruptive retail bridges our traditional and digital shopping experiences in ways that are entertaining, educational, engaging, and interactive. It works to challenge the once held belief that retail can only operate with a long-term lease in a brick-and-mortar setting. Instead, disruptive retail embraces an ever-growing number of online, offline, and metaverse solutions that work nicely for today’s creative and connected consumer, at every age.
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