Go Back
31st July 2023

Universities should brave the Barbie wave

Universities should brave the band-wagon.

By capitalising on popular brands and trends, universities can create widespread recognition and appeal and leave a lasting impression.

The current moment belongs to Barbie, and we seem to be merely inhabitants of her world! As the Barbie film takes centre stage as one of the most talked-about movies of 2023, it presents a unique opportunity for universities to jump on the band-wagon and leverage the widespread recognition of Barbie for their own promotions.

Love her or hate her, Barbie is everywhere, and her popularity can be a powerful tool for boosting other brands. Companies, big and small, have recognised this potential and have found creative ways to associate themselves with the Barbie brand. For instance, we’ve seen Barbican tube station rebranded as ‘Barbiecan’, and even a pink Tardis making an appearance at Tower Bridge.

Barbie’s influence extends far beyond her iconic doll. The licensing tie-ins have been extensive, with collaborations spanning from trendy clothing lines to Barbie-themed Xbox controllers. Mattel, the company behind Barbie, has officially partnered with various brands, including Zara, to introduce a range of Barbie clothing and even a Barbie doll box for photo opportunities at Westfield Shopping Centre in London.

Aside from the official collaborators we have also witnessed companies like Heineken adapting their marketing strategy to incorporate the catchy strapline ‘Let’s Go Party’. While one wouldn’t typically associate Heineken’s customer base with that of Barbie’s, this demonstrates that, in the right context, associating with Barbie can be a successful marketing move.

Furthermore, we have even seen bright pink digivans around London created by Uncommon Experience Studio promoting Not on the High Street’s pink sale!

Victoria’s Secret’s social media channels are currently showcasing numerous pink apparel and fragrances available capturing the essence of the movie, but cleverly avoiding explicit mention of “Barbie.”

The success of the Barbie movie at the box office has provided a golden opportunity for brands to capitalise on this triumph and enjoy significant rewards for their marketing efforts. However, it’s crucial to recognise that the success of such marketing ventures relies on identifying elements with enduring appeal that can maximise the impact of their campaigns and create a lasting buzz.

By the same token for Mattel, this situation is undoubtedly beneficial as it provides increased visibility for the film extending Barbie’s influence way beyond the cinema.

Universities have the opportunity to embrace trends, jumping on the back of influential brands like Barbie to boost their own promotions.

The University of Nottingham has done exactly that by ‘painting’ buildings pink and sharing this transformation on TikTok to join in on the excitement.


Look at the pool at SB! 💕💖 #WeAreUoN #universityofnottingham #uniofnottingham #uniofnotts #nottsuni #studentlife

♬ barbie girl sped up – sar

By capitalising on Barbie, or other popular brands and trends, universities can create widespread recognition and appeal and leave a lasting impression. These windows of opportunity definitely don’t want to be missed.  There is the potential to take brands to a whole new level in the eyes of the public so they need to grab it while they can!

At Hunterlodge, we have our fingers on the pulse. So if you want help pushing your brand and creative boundaries, then give us a wave… or just get in touch 😉 at nick.friend@hunterlodge.co.uk

Want to see what we can do for you?

Show Me