The world has gone Barbie pink. Barbie is now the highest-grossing movie of the year worldwide, but even before that was the case the Barbie movie was everywhere. It seems that Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav knew the flick was a movie worth promoting, because the studio incorporated it everywhere, from HGTV to Inside the NBA with Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.
It’s been difficult to avoid the color pink since Barbie opened in theaters, but speaking at Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology (via Indiewire) Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav spoke about how all of WB fell in line behind the movie in the weeks leading up to the film’s release. All the various parts of Warner Bros. Discovery found ways to promote Barbie.
Some of those methods, like an HGTV competition show surrounding building a real-life Barbie Dream House, make a lot of sense. Others, like having the team hosting Inside the NBA -- including Shaq and Barkley -- discussing the new movie on air are maybe a bit more surprising, but that’s honestly what happened.
It’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen a massive studio with multiple avenues to reach the public using all of them to promote something. From WB to Disney to Comcast, media companies are built specifically to be able to do this. The trick, however, is finding a way to do it that works. Having Shaq and Charles Barkley talk about Barbie only works if it’s done in a way that at least feels organic. If it comes off as forced, then it can have the opposite of the intended effect and turn people off.
There’s an argument to be made that something like Inside the NBA may be one of the more important ways to reach potential viewers. If you reach basketball fans and get them interested in the movie, you’re likely reaching a lot of people who might not be otherwise considering a trip to the theater to see Barbie.
The film's success isn’t over yet. The movie Barbie is getting ready for its digital release, and since a movie doesn’t reach $1 billion worldwide without a significant amount of repeat business, there are likely to be many fans who want to own it, so the Digital and eventual Blu-ray release of Barbie is likely to make the movie an even bigger hit.
Of course, the other part of company-wide synergy that usually accompanies such success is the franchise. It’s something of a surprise that we haven’t heard anything about plans for Barbie 2 yet. Such a film will certainly happen if all involved want to see it. And if it does, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see the film promoted all over everything that Warner Bros. Discovery owns.