Unless you’ve been sequestered in a pink dreamhouse under a candy-cotton-colored sky, you’ve heard about Barbie, the blockbuster movie starring Margot Robbie as Stereotypical Barbie and Ryan Gosling as her BFF, Ken.
I confess that I wasn’t impressed when interest in Barbie began to take off. “How dumb,” I thought, wondering who the producers targeted. Surely not someone from my generation; I’m a Gen Xer who grew up in the 1970s when Barbie was still a teenager.
But I couldn’t imagine Mattel and Warner Bros were targeting children unless the goal was to revitalize revenue by encouraging a new generation of kids to want to play with Barbie dolls.
As the release date approached and my newsfeeds overflowed with Barbie-related articles—many about Barbie and brand collaborations—I scratched my head.
Exploring these and many other collaborations made me realize that I, too, could glom on to the Barbie craze by writing about it.
There’s a name for “glomming on” to a hot news story—newsjacking, which Robert Rose, head of the Content Marketing Institute, says is about infusing yourself and your brand into news-related content.
“To make newsjacking work,” he says, “you must bring your unique angle or point of view in a way that makes people want to explore that angle.”
That’s what I’m doing with this article. I’m newsjacking Barbie by sharing five ways your brand can do the same.
1. Envision your ideal customer as a Barbie or Ken
For instance, there’s spy Barbie, dentist Barbie, and news anchor Barbie. There’s also sailor Ken, dentist Ken, and firefighter Ken.
To envision your ideal customer as a Barbie or Ken, scan the lists of careers and see which Barbie or Ken might match your ideal customer.
I could serve businessman Ken, coach Ken, and doctor Ken, especially if they want to publish thought-leadership content. I could also work with interior designer Barbie, artist Barbie, and business executive Barbie.
Then, after you identify your Barbies and Kens, create blog posts or social media content that illustrate how you could serve them should you become part of their worlds.
2. Broadcast a favorite Barbie message to your audience.
When I saw the movie, I picked up on many sticky sayings that made me smile, frown, or whip out my pen. Here are a few from my notebook (if you haven’t yet seen the movie, some of these lines might not make sense):
- Every day is the best day.
- We sell dreams, imagination, and sparkle.
- Mojo dojo casa house.
- It’s not how they see us; it’s how they see themselves.
- I am Kenough.
And then there’s my favorite line: Even if you can’t make it perfect, you can make it better.
That line is an excellent fit for my editing business because I help people make their content—if not perfect—better.
To piggyback on Barbie this way, identify your favorite lines from the movie and create social media quote graphics to share how the lines relate to you and your prospects and customers.
3. Create Barbie-themed products, services, and experiences
At first blush, this idea might sound best for B2C companies, but B2B brands can take advantage, too. For instance:
- A software company could create a pink Barbie interface.
- An office-furniture manufacturer could design a Barbie dream office collection with pink chairs and desks.
- A business consulting firm could offer a “Barbiecore Leadership” training program focused on empowerment.
The key is to imbue iconic Barbie elements—like her signature color, fashion, and empowering personality—into the context of your business and customers. Doing so will attract Barbie fans—many of whom might be your ideal customers.
4. Run a Barbie-themed contest
Contests are effective marketing tactics for B2B companies looking to generate leads, increase brand awareness, and drive social engagement.
Here are a few Barbie contest ideas to get you started:
- Pink Carpet Makeover contest—have employees submit photos of their office spaces decorated in Barbie style to win a pink office makeover.
- Barbie Core Values contest—ask people to submit stories of how they exemplify Barbie’s core values, like empowerment and inclusion, to win a Barbie.
- Find Barbie contest—hide Barbie dolls around your trade show booth or conference venue for people to find and redeem for prizes.
The key here is to tie the Barbie brand to your company’s values, services, and customers in a fun, engaging way.
5. Publish marketing content with a Barbie spin on industry topics
People love Barbie. There’s no better way to tap into the movie’s cultural significance while attracting attention and providing real value than to publish Barbie-themed content—like this article. For instance:
- 5 Ways to Add Barbie Sparkle to Your Company’s Culture—a blog post.
- Barbie’s Journey to Diversity: An infographic about how Barbie’s looks and careers have expanded for inclusion.
- Home Office Style: What Barbie Can Teach Us About Home Office Design—an ebook, perhaps with pink fonts and Barbie graphics.
Bottom line: Should your B2B brand bother with Barbie?
I didn’t like the idea of the Barbie movie before I saw it. But I now understand why the movie has brought in almost $800 million worldwide in just two weeks since opening.
See for yourself, if you haven’t already, and then decide for your brand. As for me, I decided Barbie is a rocket ship worth pinning at least one flag on.