Localization Insights
Localization Insights

‘Barbie’ Gains Global Success with Localized Marketing Campaigns 

Since its record-breaking opening weekend at the US box offices, the world hasn’t stopped talking about Greta Gerwig’s latest film, Barbie. It makes sense, considering the film’s estimated $150 million marketing budget. Barbie may have already broken records in the United States, but Warner Bros. didn’t reserve their astronomical budget for the US market alone. From pink burgers in Brazil to a skyscraper-sized Barbie in Dubai, Warner Bros. carried out a number of local marketing campaigns in different markets around the world for maximum exposure.  

Here’s a few examples of Barbie’s localized marketing campaigns that garnered international attention: 

Barbie’s International Marketing Campaigns

Burger King’s Pink Burgers in Brazil 

Warner Bros. partnered with Burger King Brazil to bring the BK Barbie Combo, featuring a cheeseburger topped with bacon bits and a Barbie pink sauce, plus a vanilla milkshake and frosted donut that were both, you guessed it – pink. The plain old fries on the side? They’re called “Batata do Ken” or “Ken’s potatoes,” a nod to Ken’s role in the film.  

Skyscraper Barbie in Dubai 

What better way to stand out in Dubai than with a Barbie that’s almost as tall as the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. A local social media agency in Dubai, Eye Studio, created a 12 second CGI video of Barbie stepping out of her box next to the iconic Burj Khalifa. The video quickly went viral, garnering over 4 million views

Barbie Takes the Tube in London 

For Barbie’s premiere in London, the city was sure to get a touch of pink. A pink TARDIS appeared on Tower Bridge, a nod to the time machine from British science fiction show Doctor Who. That’s not all – the Barbican tube station was renamed “Barbiecan,” which fits all too well with Barbie’s slogan, “You Can Be Anything.”

Take a Spin in Barbie’s Car in Bucharest 

Photo by Romania Insider

Part of Barbie’s iconic ensemble is her very own car – a pink convertible usually driven with the roof down, of course. Vertical Entertainment, Barbie’s film distribution partner in Romania, teamed up with Uber to bring fans in Bucharest the chance to ride in Barbie’s iconic ride. On the day of the international premiere, users were able to request a free ride down Bucharest’s Kiseleff Boulevard in a pink vintage Buick Invicta

Stay in Barbie’s Mansion in Malibu 

Not only did the film bring riding in Barbie’s car to life, they even brought her DreamHouse to life! Barbie’s Malibu DreamHouse was listed on Airbnb for two one-night stays on July 21 and July 22, the weekend of the film’s international release. The best part? The stays were listed by host “Ken” for free!

The Benefits of Localized Marketing

Localized marketing campaigns hold a significant role in establishing a strong connection between businesses and their local audiences. There’s no question that the teams at Warner Bros. saw the value in investing in campaigns and partnerships unique to each locale. It’s all about speaking the language of the community and understanding what resonates with them. When companies take the time to personalize their messages and strategies to match the unique preferences, values, and cultural aspects of a particular locality, it shows a level of dedication that goes beyond just selling products or services. This tailored approach not only fosters a sense of belonging but also cultivates trust and authenticity.

By diving into the local culture and embracing its distinct characteristics, businesses can position themselves as more than just entities seeking transactions. A great way to do this is by working with local agencies that are familiar with the culture, community, language, and even local events. This commitment goes a long way in building genuine relationships and customer loyalty.

Moreover, localized campaigns provide the opportunity to tap into market insights that might otherwise be overlooked. By catering to the specific desires of the local population, businesses, including the entertainment industry, can uncover hidden potential and gain a competitive edge in the region. In essence, localized marketing campaigns empower companies to create meaningful connections that have a lasting positive impact. The Barbie movie’s global phenomenon will likely leave a lasting impression on audiences around the world, a smart move by Mattel. 

Interested in getting more out of your localized marketing campaigns with professional translations, voice and video localization, and more? Get in touch with our team of experts.

author post

Corinne Sharabi

Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.


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