The Brilliant “Barbie” Marketing Team Secretly Created an Actual Barbie DreamHouse

One of the most highly anticipated films of the summer season, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, has continued to garner mass attention through a slew of engaging advertising campaigns. Between a consistent social media presence and the renovation of an actual DreamHouse available for stay, the hope is that audiences will flock to theaters on July 21 for the film’s theatrical release. 

For those unfamiliar with Barbie’s premise, the film follows Barbie (Margot Robbie) living in her picture-perfect world, where all the Barbies and Kens co-exist in peace and harmony. However, a zany, Dua Lipa-esque musical number cannot distract Barbie from questioning her reality. To find fulfillment, she — and her trusted confidant Ken (Ryan Gosling) — decide to travel to the real world and find the answers to the meaning of life. They find that the actual Los Angeles isn’t, in fact, perfect and that reality itself is lousy with imperfection. 

Boasting an all-star cast alongside Robbie and Gosling that includes Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Helen Mirren, Kate McKinnon, America Ferrera, Dua Lipa, Will Ferrell, and more, Barbie promises the kind of summer joy ride we could all use, and a chance to follow Gerwig as she imagines the deeper implications of what life is like for Mattel’s favorite doll. Gerwig has become of the great young directors working today (Ladybird, Little Women), and she’s said what drew her to take on Barbie was fear.  “It was something that was exciting because it was terrifying,” she said on Dua Lipa’s podcast At Your Service. “It felt like vertigo, starting to write it, like: ‘Where do you even begin, and what would be the story?’ And I think it was that feeling I had, knowing that it would be really interesting terror. Usually, that’s where the best stuff is, where you’re like, ‘I am terrified of that.’ Anything where you’re like, ‘This could be a career-ender — then you’re like, ‘I should probably do it.’”

She did it, and ever since then, the Warner Bros. marketing team has been making sure her efforts were supported by a stellar promotional campaign. Barbie has already been making its mark on the internet with its splashy, exuberant marketing. Earlier this year, the Barbie team rolled out a viral social media campaign with different Barbies and Kens smiling next to a phrase describing their character. The campaign also included an A.I.-powered selfie generator, where fans could join in on the fun.  

And that’s not all. The Barbie team is also partnering with Xbox on a number of projects, including adding Barbie-themed cars to their popular racing video game, Forza Horizon 5, and developing a Barbie-themed Xbox controller. This is not the first collaboration Xbox has had with a well-loved franchise, as the video gaming brand has also worked on a Space Jam: A New Legacy controller and Spongebob-themed sets.  

But perhaps the most extravagant and eye-catching marketing tactic for Barbie has been the renovation of a real-life Malibu Barbie DreamHouse in California—a house that had previously been outfitted, although far less aggressively, to serve as the location of Barbie’s 60th anniversary in 2019. Adorned with flashy décor, painted in bright colors, and sporting a huge infinity pool, this marvel of advertising can actually be booked on Airbnb starting July 18. Those selected for the stay in the mansion will also be able to take Ken-style roller skates and an Impala surfboard back home with them after their time in the DreamHouse

Though the house boasts much of Barbie’s favorite home accessories, the DreamHouse also promises a sort of “Kenergy,” as Ken’s influence can be felt throughout the space. According to the Airbnb listing, Ken took over the DreamHouse from Barbie over the summer, adding a few key pieces that make the home more Ken-friendly. From grooving out in the home’s built-in disco to looking into Ken’s fabulous wardrobe, it’s clear that the DreamHouse is here to intensify the allure of Barbie.  

If that isn’t enough, Airbnb plans to make a one-time donation to Save the Children in celebration of Barbie’s release. Save the Children is an organization dedicated to providing learning resources and support for building girls’ confidence. This allows girls to excel in school and primes them to be the leaders of tomorrow. 

Right now, Barbie is all the buzz, and with the marketing campaigns listed above, it’s obvious why—with top-tier talent both in front and behind the camera, the movie requires a top-tier effort from all those involved in promoting the film.

Barbie is in theaters on July 21.  

For more on Barbie, check out these stories:

Things Get Real for Margot Robbie’s Iconic Doll in Official “Barbie” Trailer

“Barbie” Trailer Reveals Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig’s Live-Action Look at Mattel’s Iconic Doll

Margot Robbie’s “Barbie” Reveals First Photo, Release Date at CinemaCon

Featured image: Caption: MARGOT ROBBIE as Barbie in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BARBIE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures


Mary Kurbanov

Mary Kurbanov (she/her) is a writer, editor, designer, and Media Studies major at the University of Virginia. As of now, Mary serves as Editor-in-Chief of the V Magazine at U.Va., the Newsletter Editor and Arts and Entertainment Senior Writer for the esteemed campus news outlet The Cavalier Daily, and graphic designer for film magazine Page 2 Frame. When she is not dedicating herself to her craft, Mary likes listening to music, enjoying a good meal with friends, and traveling whenever she can.