Innovative AI Marketing Approach to Barbie Movie

Many are already aware that the Barbie movie spent an astonishing $150 million (not including the $145 million production budget) on an extensive and expensive marketing campaign.
As it turns out, the efforts are already paying off.
But an important factor that has contributed to the success was using artificial intelligence in their marketing campaign.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

barbie ai marketing

Illustration: Lenka T.

Barbie’s ingenious use of generative AI has catapulted it to the forefront of cinema through a pioneering marketing approach. 

The movie’s exceptional success becomes especially apparent when considering its impressive opening week, where it raked in a remarkable $155 million in revenue. This sum surpasses even the much-anticipated Avatar 2 by a considerable $30 million. 

In just one week, the Barbie film has surpassed a remarkable milestone, crossing the $1 billion mark in overall box office earnings, a feat achieved by only 53 movies in history. 

Notably, director Greta Gerwig also achieved a significant accomplishment by breaking a record previously held by Patty Jenkins, known for directing “Wonder Woman.” 

AI-driven marketing approach   

When questioned about their marketing strategies, the brains behind Barbie attributed their accomplishment to one crucial factor: Generative AI, which is technology that autonomously generates content. Here’s a closer look at their innovative approach: 

  1. The Barbie Movie Poster Generator: This inventive AI tool crafts personalized Barbie movie posters using user selfies. The campaign started with influencers sharing their customized movie posters on social media using the hashtag #TheBarbieMovie. In just three months, the AI-driven tool attracted a remarkable 13 million users, showcasing its compelling appeal. 
  2. AI-Powered Quizzes: Complementing this initiative, Barbie marketers created quizzes that determine which Barbie character users resemble the most. These quizzes, though unconventional, resonated remarkably well with audiences. Users were encouraged to share their Barbie persona on social media using the hashtag #TheBarbieMovie. The result was a staggering Instagram record, with the hashtag accumulating an impressive 325,000 posts in only four months. 
  3. AI-Generated Bumble Compliments: Barbie also partnered with Bumble, a popular dating app with over 12 million users, using AI to craft ‘Barbie Compliments’ for users to send to potential matches. Impressively, 75% of Bumble users responded positively, expressing interest in watching the movie with their newfound connections. 

Nostalgia sells   

Moreover, Barbie has cleverly employed AI to evoke nostalgia among its older fan base. 

AC Marketing Caribbean did a very good job at explaining the essence of it on LinkedIn, pointing out how the Barbie team clearly used nostalgia to their advantage. 


The brand has released a number of videos that feature interviews with former Barbie collectors. Additionally, the brand has released a poster that features a retro-style Barbie doll. This poster and the videos are great ways to appeal to older fans and make them feel like the brand is still relevant to them and remind them of their love for the brand.

The way they see it, this strategy taps into the potent sentiment of nostalgia, a compelling emotion that fosters a strong connection with consumers. 

In the end, the Barbie brand has a rich history woven into countless childhood memories. By tapping into these sentiments, the brand establishes a deep bond with its audience, igniting their interest in the film. 

Team Oppenheimer or team Barbie?   

Whether you were team Oppenheimer or team Barbie, it’s needless to say that the synergy of technology and emotion has elevated the Barbie movie beyond conventional cinematic encounters, solidifying its status as a remarkable success story in the film industry. 

So, even if you didn’t like the narrative, there are still important lessons to learn from this project, considering it’s the first major movie to use generative AI as a marketing strategy. 

A journalist by day and a podcaster by night. She's not writing to impress but to be understood.