How Greta Gerwig’s Barbie has Mastered the Marketing Game


Amelia Knust

Greta Gerwig’s highly-anticipated film, Barbie, is coming to theaters this summer. The genius marketing strategies and stylistic choices used to promote it have caused the film to be the internet’s current hot-topic.

Amelia Knust, Staffer

Greta Gerwig-the beloved director of Little Women (2019) and Lady Bird (2017)-has a new summer blockbuster hitting the screens this summer, Barbie. The cast includes Margot Robbie as the namesake doll of the film, Ryan Gosling as Ken, and stars like Will Ferrel, Emma Mackey, Simu Liu, Michael Cera, Dua Lipa, and much more. While little is known about the concrete plot of the film, it is rumored that it takes on a Truman-Show-esque turn on the Barbie universe, in which Barbie and Ken break the fourth wall of the perfect life in which they are living. There has been an immense buzz on the internet about the film in the past few months as on-set photos were leaked, trailers were dropped, and character posters were released. In a time when film companies don’t go exceedingly out of their way to promote a movie before its release, Universal Pictures has gone above and beyond with its clever marketing for Barbie.

The first concept that Barbie has mastered is the element of nostalgia, but not to the point where the movie feels like a forced attempt to draw adults and children to the theaters. Sentimentality can be easily overdone, as seen by Disney’s countless live-action remakes and sequels of films that already had time to shine. Still, when nostalgia is added with just the right amount of modernity, a masterpiece is in the making. Although there have been countless Barbie movies made in the early 2000s and 2010s that share the animated adventures of Barbie and her confidants, there have yet to be any live-action attempts, and it’s clear that Gerwig is adding a new twist to the doll we all know and love by adding more complex plotlines and self-awareness. The trailers that have been released have perfectly captured the picturesque world that Barbie lives in, down to the abundance of pink architecture and fashion. Gerwig perfectly balances the style by staying true to specific dolls from the past but dressing Barbie in modern outfits that have gained viral attention on social media platforms. The seamless balance of nostalgic callbacks and contemporary storylines and aspects ensures that Barbie will have people of all ages in the theater when the film is released. 

Out of the tactics used to promote Barbie, it’s clear that the smartest one was releasing personalized character posters for every movie’s main character on social media platforms, sparking a wildfire of Barbie-related content and memes. Each poster is in the same, simple format, with a cutout of the character in the middle with their name on top and a small blurb about them next to the cutout, usually consisting of the phrase: “This Barbie is a…” with witty, descriptive words and jobs filling in the blank. The bright colors and humorous captions of the posters were the perfect recipes for success, as the template became very easy to insert anything in. As soon as the posters were publicly released, they quickly because the pop-culture talk of the day, with people recreating the posters with everyone from Taylor Swift to Pedro Pascal, with creative captions like “This Barbie is a mastermind” or “This Barbie knows the way.” The simple format of the posters was a genius way to generate hype for the movie and let the audience become a part of the fun. There is even a Barbie Selfie Generator on both the internet and as a filter on TikTok to make these posters accessible for anyone to create.

Through these elaborate and undeniably fun marketing methods, it’s clear that Barbie will be one of the most talked about summer events. The movie is set to release in theaters on July 21, 2023. 

Make your own Barbie character poster: Barbie Selfie Generator