Birkenstock’s ingenious marketing in the success of the film Barbie

Birkenstock's ingenious marketing in the success of the film Barbie

From the Barbiecore trend, to the glorification of Birkenstocks. The great success of the film Barbie (in cinemas, from 21 July) is not only in terms of tickets sold at the box office (over 10 million in Italy in the first week of screenings), but also and above all in fashion. It was to be expected, you might think, but perhaps reality exceeds expectations.

Even before the release of the film, the trend for pink took on such proportions that there was a worldwide shortage of pink paint. But the marketing power of the film rose to another level with its release in cinemas. The film directed by Greta Gerwig, starring Margot Robbie as the world’s most famous doll and with Ryan Gosling as Ken, is a condensation of promotional messages: both feminist and clearly commercial. And in this scenario, Birkenstock sandals play a fundamental role. Yes, precisely the famous Arizona model in leather with a cork sole.

Birkenstocks in the film Barbie

In the fantasy world of Barbieland, Birkenstock Arizona sandals represent a symbolic portal to reality. The protagonist, in the grip of a sort of existential crisis, is faced with the choice “pink stiletto heels or brown flat sandals?”. An almost unthinkable alternative for the very blonde Barbie, who is used to having an arched foot by nature, to wear only high heels. But the decision Margot Robbie has to make is to literally get her feet back on the ground. The German brand’s flat shoe will lead Barbie to discover a new dimension. Along with a completely different way of being a woman.

Ingenious marketing

Many have described the film Barbie as a huge and ingenious marketing operation. To a large extent this is indeed the case. In addition to Mattel‘s brand awareness, Birkenstock also took advantage of the international visibility of this film. It is certainly no coincidence that one of the German brand’s latest Instagram posts is a reel entitled “It’s a pink pink world” with the description “Real-world comfort you can’t resist”. A clear reference to the story told on the big screen by Barbie, that advertises one model in particular: the pink-coloured Arizona Big Buckle Slide Sandal. The sandal with which the protagonist appears in the finale and (needless to say) is already selling like hot cakes on the brand’s e-commerce.

Style and more

If the whole film Barbie (as explained several times by the director) aims to demolish the image of the perfect, coy woman and stereotyped femininity, the question of style embraces a social message. In some ways, therefore, Birkenstocks do not only represent a revolutionary change of outfit, but the actualisation of that aspirational glamour with which the Mattel doll universe has always been imbued since the 1950s. And which today has evolved, trying to be more inclusive and, at times, ordinary. Barbie, like women in general, does not have to wear high heels to be feminine.

Pictured, a still from the trailer

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