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5 min read

Barbie, an experience that makes history

5 min read

Barbie, an experience that makes history

How can an experience mark our history? Millions of people in their childhood, have invented a world by playing with one or more Barbies, their family has been involved in finding and buying them, as well as watching them have fun. These experiences have marked those people. The user experience and a good marketing strategy have achieved that today, Barbie has a movie that many want to enjoy.

In this article, we will cover the following topics:


Barbie's History

Barbie is one of the most recognized and popular toy brands in the world. It began in 1959 when Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, observed her daughter playing with paper dolls that represented adult women. Ruth realized that there were no dolls on the market that allowed girls to imagine different roles and careers for themselves, so she decided to create a doll for this purpose.

On March 9, 1959, Barbie was launched. The first Barbie wore a black and white striped swimsuit, had blonde hair styled in a bun, and accessories like sunglasses and earrings. She was a revolutionary doll in her time, breaking away from the standards of the predominantly childlike dolls that prevailed back then.

Throughout the years, Barbie has evolved and become an icon, representing fashion, beauty, and diversity. As the world has changed, Barbie has reflected those changes by introducing different body types, skin tones, hair colors, and styles to showcase diversity and promote inclusivity.

Barbie has also portrayed various careers and roles over the years. She has been an astronaut, a doctor, an engineer, an athlete, a dancer, an actress, and many other professions, showing girls that they can aspire to be anything they want. In addition to toys and games, Barbie has provided accessories for people and has ventured into movies.

>>Inbound Marketing and UX Design: A Great Customer Experience<<

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What sets this new Barbie movie apart from the others?

Firstly, we need to consider the trajectory that Barbie has had. It has experienced low sales in various periods due to criticism of the doll's image. Thanks to the rebranding, brand content, and content marketing, Barbie's identity was changed to project an image that is more relatable to today's consumers, including professions, ideologies, ethnic diversity, among others.

>>The Best Success Stories of Companies with UX/UI Strategies<<

The Barbie boom began in April 2022 when Margot Robbie starred in an image with her pink 1956 Chevrolet Corvette. Later, she and Ryan Gosling were seen roller skating, portraying their characters. Since then, marketing and advertising have not stopped.

Some of the strategies used include:

  • Attending red carpet events and professional gatherings to confirm their roles in Barbie.
  • Videos featuring songs by Dua Lipa or Ice Spice with Nicki Minaj.
  • Renting out the Barbie Dreamhouse on Airbnb.
  • The Barbie Dream House featured in Architectural Digest.
  • Implementing the pink world in different settings.

Previous Barbie movies were animations and illustrations that represented different stories featuring the types of dolls offered by the brand. The movie released in 2023, on the other hand, features live-action characters, departing from what has been done before. Additionally, as we have seen in the previous points, the marketing strategies they have employed have reached a large audience.


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User Experience (UX) that has made history

Since 1959, many people have had a Barbie doll in their childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood. They have created an imaginary world where they portray a woman dressed in pink, surrounded by pink objects, falling in love, starting a family, buying a house, getting a car, and so on. There are endless possibilities for imagination for those who played with Barbie.

All of the above are lived experiences, often enjoyed and also yearned for. These experiences have led to a desire for more accessories to create that dream house during childhood, or the act of playing Barbies with a neighbor has made a girl want a doll for her birthday, among other things. In adolescence, collecting those Barbies we had becomes a way to reminisce, and in adulthood, it becomes a reason to recall fond memories. All these lived experiences influence the acquisition of the toy, its accessories, and even going to see the movie simply to reminisce. In other words, the influence of UX.

That's why Barbie can be considered an object that has left a mark on our lives or our history. Those experiences filled us with joy and nostalgia, shaping our thoughts about the future or simply reminding us of the innocence and joy of being children.

If you want to learn more about User Experience and gain a better understanding of this point, I invite you to read the following blog post:

>>What is User Experience (UX) and what is it for?<<

Customer experience

Why is UX so important for Barbie's Marketing strategy?

As we saw earlier, the satisfactory user experience, which once filled users with creativity, longing, enthusiasm and joy, is today fundamental to capture the attention of thousands of people. Without those experiences you wouldn't have such a large adult and even teenage audience.

The current marketing strategy for Barbie has been in charge of making people remember the moments when they played with their Barbies, dressed them, put them accessories, formed a home, went to work, had children, among many other activities that in childhood, was possible with the dolls. These strategies have made adults feel that they can live that experience again through the movie, and even refresh memories by watching it. If we make a product customizable, where the user can have control of it, it makes the user experience amazing but above all memorable. This is why the UX is a fundamental part to attract more people and thus have a higher ROI than thought. 

A very important experience to take into account is to see the doll on the shelves of each toy store and how Mattel has made it possible to interact with the toy through the packaging. This allows people to touch a little bit of the Barbie and get excited about it before they buy it, which can be the step that takes from the Consideration stage to the Decision stage to purchase the product.

>>UX: A lever that drives the entire sales cycle<<

For the generations where Barbie has had more competition, it is important to highlight that the word of mouth effect is paramount since people who have had previous experiences with this brand recommend the product to their friends, family and colleagues; so this strategy has been very important. 

In addition, in the future it can be predicted that many people will watch this movie to keep remembering those satisfying experiences they had at some point in their lives, so Barbie, the movie, will not be a momentary thing but will be a success for some time.


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What can we learn from this for our own business?

Although Mattel and Barbie are very big brands with many years of experience, we can see some of their implementations that can bring us advantages.

  • Marketing planned months in advance brings many advantages since the positive aspects can be analyzed and enhanced and the negative ones can be avoided to a greater extent.
  • The fact that known faces or other brands can collaborate and are within budget, can attract potential customers from other areas that have not been contemplated at present, so they can give a different point of view to analyze.
  • It is possible to consider the possibility of creating or modifying products or services so that they are sustainable over time, that is to say that they not only solve a momentary need of the user, but also have a vision for what they will continue to do over time, taking into account their evolution and that of the users. 
  • If the UX is implemented, in the long term it can generate interaction and participation with new products or services, since it can be considered that there is brand loyalty.
  • The UX and marketing combined, can provide a competitive differentiation with other brands, since the attraction of customers and the experience they have when interacting with the product can make them want to relive that experience and return to this brand and not to another.
  • An event that is taking part, is to dress in pink to go to see the Barbie movie, this teaches us that we must take into account what happens before, during and after launching the product or service to modify marketing strategies, as this trend can mark a before and after, this could happen in any case.
  • It is very important to take into account that 90% of consumers' purchase decisions are emotional, after making the purchase they think rationally and justify themselves. At a strategic level we must think about those feelings and experiences that we want users to feel in order to be influenced and be part of that 90%.

In short, the experience has an immediate impact or even a long-term one, as we have seen in this case. Carefully planning marketing and advertising strategies can be a fundamental fact that makes a difference, and providing an exceptional user experience will create loyalty, which is very important today, in a world where competition between brands is the daily life. If we create a product or service that solves a need and at the same time creates memorable experiences, these will stand out from the competition, will generate fame and this will be demonstrated in sales.
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