Hi Barbie! 

Whether you were team Barbie or Oppenheimer at the movies – or a mix of both – it’s undeniable the impact Greta Gerwig’s hit Barbie movie had on consumers this summer. 

Created by Ruth Handler and launched in 1959 by Mattel, for over six decades Barbie has been a household name and an important part of the fashion doll market. Ruth’s philosophy behind Barbie was: “that through the doll, a little girl could be anything she wanted to be and that she has choices.”

A vehicle for sales, Barbie-branded products expanded to include not only the range of dolls with their clothes, accessories and professions, but also branded goods such as books, apparel, cosmetics, video games and more.

Barbie Gains Momentum 

Winding down from a surge in toy sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mattel, like other toymakers, has been fighting a slump in sales. However, this summer’s highly anticipated Barbie movie served as a much-needed sales catalyst for the brand.

After becoming Warner Bros.’ highest-grossing movie of all time, it comes as no shock that this billion dollar movie motivated consumers’ interest in the Barbie brand. In fact, according to QuestBrand data, there has been an increase in momentum for the Barbie brand among U.S. adults this summer. Momentum is a component of brand equity, and it reflects a brand’s market position and its ability to beat out competitors.

Barbie Momentum June – August 2023 – Trended 12 Week Moving Average

QuestBrand. 6/1/23-8/29/23. Base: Adults 18+, n=2,450.

Significant Gains in Consumer Ad Recall

Ahead of its success at the box office, Barbie’s extensive marketing campaign successfully grabbed consumers’ attention. From partnerships with nostalgia-evoking brands like Gap and Forever 21, to artificial intelligence and even a modern-day Malibu Dreamhouse available to rent through Airbnb, out-of-the box marketing tactics kept Barbie at the forefront of consumers’ minds. 

And, that consistent push to keep consumers engaged with Barbie content paid off for the brand. According to QuestBrand, among consumers we saw ad recall jump (+24.1) from pre Barbie movie (14.0) to post Barbie movie (38.1).  Ad recall captures the percentage of consumers who remember interacting with a brand’s ad in the prior 30 days. 

Barbie Advertising Recall Pre v Post Barbie Movie

QuestBrand. Base: Adults 18+. Pre: 1/1-23-3/31/23, n=2,258. Post: 6/1/23-8/29/23, n=2,450.

Summer might be over, but the impact from marketing and box office wins this season are likely far from finished for Barbie. 

For over 60 years, Barbie has empowered girls and inspired them to dream big and reach for their goals. From lawyer to princess to president, we hope the fashion doll brand continues to innovate and inspire.


Claire Feichtmeier

Senior Marketing Coordinator

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