Content Marketing
Marketing Strategy

Marketing in the Barbie Movie | A RACE model analysis

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Marketing in the Barbie Movie | A RACE model analysis

Whether you loved it, or you’ve had Kenough of the Barbie movie (we’re sorry about that joke) there’s no denying that there was one aspect everyone was talking about—the marketing.

Everywhere you looked this year your eyes were met with a wall of pink as Warner. Bros went out of their way to make sure everyone was talking about their big film. But how did they do it?

Cynics will say that it’s easy when you have a marketing budget of $150 million, and let’s be honest that sort of money probably does make things easier. But there was a strategy for marketing, one that can be implemented by businesses of all sizes – the RACE model.

What is the RACE model?

RACE stands for Reach, Act, Convert and Engage. It was designed by David Chaffey for digital or omnichannel communications plans aimed at meeting the challenges of reaching and engaging audiences to prompt conversion to online and offline sales. It is a straightforward model that follows the marketing funnel. The idea behind the RACE model was that it be practical and action-based, focusing on tactics that can be implemented digitally. It is about being customer-centric, looking at building relationships and moving the audience along the customer journey from prospects to advocates. It is designed to integrate all forms of marketing, from paid, to owned and earned, and be applicable in multichannel environments.

So how does the RACE model work and how did Warner. Bros do it so well?


Reach is about raising awareness and driving the visibility of your brand’s products and services. It involves creating multiple interaction points across different channels, both on and offline, and making use of paid, organic, and earned media.

The Barbie movie did this through social media posts, billboard ads and video ads. They also collaborated with other brands who used the pink colour scheme, Barbie images and logo and general buzz around the movie to promote their content. This generated earned media for the Barbie movie, as people increasingly started talking about the film, both on social media and via print media. This increased the Reach and opened them up to potentially new audiences.

Don’t just focus on one platform or method of communication. Find out where your audience is and go to them, give them content they’d be happy to share and talk about.


Short for Interact, this aims at getting audiences involved with the brand. Encouraging them to participate with the media and increase brand awareness. Act helps to generate leads who can hopefully be converted into paying customers.

Barbie did this using a range of ideas, such as the doll box for people to take their photographs in, the ‘Barbie is’ selfie generator, hashtags, bright billboards and even a bus. By creating this wide variety of content, Warner. Bros encouraged people to explore more about the brand, visit the movie’s website, interact with trending hashtags and actively view the adverts. This allowed the marketing agency to collect data on the movie’s potential audience and target them with their ads.

Relationship marketing is a two-way street. Allow your audience to be involved with the brand, consumers tend to trust each other’s experiences above traditional advertising messages. Interesting content will drive customers to explore your brand. Act aims to get them to do things like visit your website, click through to your landing page and sign up for newsletters.


This is simply the act of getting customers to make a purchase. You should allow them to purchase in the easiest way possible. Make them feel like your product or service will fill a need or solve a problem and they will take that next step.

Barbie was the must-see film of the year. Showing it at a huge range of cinemas, that offer digital and offline methods of purchasing presented customers with an opportunity to buy their tickets in different ways. Also, the organic marketing that Barbie benefitted from, other brands collaborating with them and using the marketing materials, helped drive sales of tickets due to popularity and association.

Make it easy for your potential consumers to purchase your goods and services. Try to reduce any barriers they may face and offer as many different options as you can. If you have been successful in establishing a relationship with your audience, this should be relatively straightforward yet even minor difficulties in a business interaction can have a damaging effect on customers’ perceptions.


Engaging is about establishing loyalty with your customers. Turing one-time purchasers in repeat business and turning repeat buyers into brand advocates. A brand advocate may not buy from you every week, but they champion your business and promote you to their connections. This can be in the form of sharing social media content as well as purchases.

Whilst not everyone went to see Barbie more than once, many did. Even those that didn’t promote the movie’s content and encouraged others to see it. This is because the film resonated with its audience. The encouragement of User Generated Content was key in establishing loyalty to the Barbie brand as well as connecting with the nostalgia of older audiences.

Engagement is about giving consumers a reason and opportunity to continue to interact with your business. Strategies that involve educating and entertaining audiences generally perform well at this as it keeps people’s attention and gives them things to share with others, opening your brand to new opportunities. Social media is a popular way to do this in the current digital world but not the only way.

The success of the Barbie movie comes down to many factors, including budget and nostalgia. However, when examined it’s evident that basic marketing models and principles are applied throughout, all of which can be applied to businesses of all sizes and don’t require $150 million budgets.

The key is to examine your brand and understand how you can utilise the RACE model to get your brand in front of consumers’ minds and get them to become brand advocates and champion your brand.

Rebellion Marketing can help with this. Visit our website, or book an appointment to find out more.