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Barbie: the impact of communication

No one should tell you who you are. You decide

These words, spoken by the iconic Barbie, have resonated in the minds of millions of individuals over the decades. The figure of Barbie, from a simple doll to an influential global brand, has been a constant presence in the lives of many generations. And now, with the release of the new Barbie movie, the brand pushes further into the world of cinema, bringing with it a massive challenge and opportunity in terms of communication.

In recent years, communication and marketing have undergone unprecedented changes. Content saturation, the explosion of social media, and the increasing focus on representation and empowerment have revolutionised the way stories are told and shared. The new Barbie film, telling a story of self-assertion and self-discovery, stands as a crucial experiment in the art of communicating a brand that has become synonymous with identity and potential.

Marketing and Investment Analysis

The enthusiasm surrounding the new Barbie movie is palpable. But what’s happening behind the scenes? The marketing machine has kicked into high gear, aiming to engage a diverse and wide-ranging audience. The planning of promotional campaigns, from the creation of emotionally impactful teasers to the release of stunning trailers, demonstrates the goal of building expectations and fueling curiosity. Consider that the budget allocated to the marketing department – a whopping $150 million – exceeded that available for the actual film production itself.

Marketing investments have reached astronomical figures, with multi-platform campaigns spanning from traditional television channels to social media, where audience engagement becomes interactive and participatory. Behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews are just a few of the tactics employed to create an engaging and multisensory experience.

The world of cinema is not just entertainment but also fertile ground for the analysis of communication strategies and their impact on public perception. “Barbie” serves as an emblematic example of how a product, through effective communication, can distinguish itself and make a difference.

The power of Barbie’s image

Barbie has long been synonymous with elegance, style, and aspirations. These attributes have been communicated through the creation of an iconic and instantly recognizable image. In the movie, this visual aspect becomes even more evident, showing how a brand can leverage the established image to capture the audience’s attention.

The protagonist doll in the film is the “stereotypical Barbie” – beautiful, tall, blonde, with blue eyes – a reference that many girls have looked up to for many years. And it is the co-protagonist herself who emphasizes the lack of identification with this image:

«You represent everything that is wrong in our culture. You have destroyed the planet with your glorification of rampant consumerism. You are a fascist!»

And it’s the ‘Barbie perfection’ who finds herself grappling with thoughts of death, cellulite, and infamous flat feet. One of the most memorable elements for those leaving the movie theatre is undoubtedly the Birkenstock sandals. Barbie is at a crossroads: towering heels or comfortable sandals? But to return to being herself, she must confront the human world, and what represents it are the shoes that have made their mark precisely for their unconventional aesthetics. Irony of fate?

Barbie: what lies beyond the superficial?

In addition to the visual aspect, a crucial element of communication is an engaging story. The Barbie movie, with its thrilling adventures and positive messages, demonstrates how a well-developed narrative can convey ideas and values more effectively than a simple advertising message. Effective communication also requires the ability to reflect the diversity of the audience. Over the years, the Barbie brand has faced criticism regarding unrealistic beauty standards. However, the film has taken a different approach, featuring characters from various backgrounds and body types. This message of acceptance and inclusivity has been a significant step toward creating a meaningful connection with the audience.

The communication strategy of the film aimed not to be one-directional but also to involve the audience. Barbie fans actively contributed to the film’s promotion through social media, generating buzz and increasing visibility. This engagement demonstrated how the audience can become a valuable ally in spreading the message.

In summary, the Barbie movie exemplifies the importance of strategic communication in differentiating a product and influencing its impact. Through imagery, engaging storytelling, diverse representation, fan involvement, and the translation of brand identity, the film has shown how a story can transform a simple object into a means of meaningful connection with the audience. A tangible example of how communication can make a difference and positively influence the perception of a brand.


Communication, female empowerment, and new values

In addition to effective communication, the movie “Barbie” also addresses the theme of female empowerment and the semiotic meaning hidden behind the text. These aspects further enrich the film’s value and contribute to its ability to convey profound messages. One of the most notable aspects of the “Barbie” movie is its commitment to female empowerment. The protagonist faces challenges, overcomes obstacles, and demonstrates that women can pursue their dreams, confronting challenges with determination. This message of self-confidence and self-assertion represents a significant contribution to the portrayal of women in the media.

Barbie serves as a spokesperson for a powerful rebranding, even for Mattel. The movie can also be seen as a “mea culpa” from those who have always led us to believe that the point of aspiration was the perfection embodied perfectly by Margot Robbie. An ideal that no longer reflects the desires of mothers or children.

The epitome of this is the “Eccentric Barbie“: with an eccentric look, cut and colorful hair, almost worn out. Who among us has never had a Barbie like that? It’s Mattel, the manufacturing company itself, that has announced the possibility of ordering the doll in limited quantities. In this case, marketing and communication also work in their favor: the film’s products are flying off the shelves, and the official merchandise, including the “K-enough” hoodie, is completely sold out.


The semiotic meaning and the power of communication


In the fascinating world of communication, success can be a delicate balance between intrinsic quality and collective perception. The new Barbie movie is an illuminating example of how strategic communication can transform a potential flop into an iconic success.

This teaches us how crucial and fundamental the role of communication is in the development of a brand and in presenting a product to the public. The thin line between success and failure is often drawn by the ability to communicate effectively.

A corporation may possess the finest products and the most innovative ideas, but if these are not communicated convincingly and engagingly, they risk going unnoticed. The art of crafting a compelling and authentic narrative can transform a product from a mere object into a cultural icon.


In a hyperconnected world, the risk of a film going unnoticed is ever-present. However, the Barbie movie, through a well-crafted communication campaign, has been transformed from a simple cinematic release into a cultural event. The focus on empowering messages and reinvention has captivated the audience, creating a movement of interest that extends well beyond the big screen.

Was the success of the Barbie movie born from its true quality or from a strategic communication campaign?

The answer lies in both elements, as the intrinsic quality of the film and its engaging narrative were amplified and disseminated through targeted communication. The uniqueness of the film was showcased under the spotlight of communication, demonstrating that quality alone is not enough to guarantee success; it must be presented convincingly and captivatingly.

In conclusion, the new Barbie movie reminds us that communication is the thread that connects the quality of a product to its impact. Thoughtful and strategic communication can turn an idea into an icon, a product into a cultural phenomenon. This challenges us to carefully consider the role of communication in every aspect of our endeavors, as its impact cannot be underestimated. Whether it’s a Hollywood film or an emerging company, the power of communication is what can make the difference between success and failure.

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