Barbenheimer: The Stark Marketing Differences Between This Summer’s Biggest Blockbusters

It’s shaping up to be a big month at the box office as the highly anticipated films Barbie and Oppenheimer gear up for release on July 21.

When the initial Barbie trailer dropped this spring, we covered why the film’s online selfie generator was a nod to nostalgia marketing.

As we get closer to the release date, the film’s marketing engine has gone into overdrive leaning heavily into partnerships and experiential marketing. Here are just a few (yes, a few) of the tactics deployed by the Barbie marketing team:

The co-branded collaborations have been so extensive they’ve inspired some funny memes on Twitter.  

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Mattel, the company behind the film and iconic doll has good reason to invest so heavily in the film’s success.

The live-action film is the first major content release backed by Mattel, and its success at the box office could provide a boost to Mattel’s stock and bottom line. It’s a crucial time for the company that is looking to overcome last year’s profit slump that was driven by inflation.

Meanwhile, the marketing team behind the biopic Oppenheimer has taken a more low-key approach to marketing the film.

Oppenheimer’s marketing efforts began in 2022 with a teaser trailer and an online countdown that leads to July 16 — the 78th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion. The film’s official trailer dropped in May 2023 and has since been shared on social media by the film’s cast.

It’s worth noting that many users on Twitter are alluding to seeing both films on the same day (which is quite the vibe shift).

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We’ll see how audiences turn out later this month when the films go head-to-head at the box office.

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