Are we still living in a Barbie World?

Are we still living in a Barbie World?

Just when you thought Barbiemania was over and every idea had been considered, another luridly coloured campaign drops. Join Hannah Jackson, Creative Strategy Director at Alfred, as she ‘thinks pink’.

Heinz and Mattel teamed up to launch ‘Barbiecue’ aka a hot pink vegan-mayo BBQ sauce.

It ties in with the 65th anniversary of the Barbie brand and comes after Heinz tested the water with its fans on social last summer, teasing both ‘Barbiecue’ and ‘Ken-chup’. Barbie won (this time) and a limited run of the product is now available to buy at Tesco stores and online at ‘Heinz to Home.’

My first thought was, ‘surely the moment has gone?’. But that’s because I forgot that Barbiemania wasn’t a ‘moment’, it was a full-blown pink movement and we’re very much still living in it.

Despite my initial reaction, here’s why it ticks my boxes:

Good pun game: I’m a sucker for a pun but a pun can easily become a pun for pun’s sake. ‘Barbiecue’ is pun perfection and it quite literally does what it says on the tin (or bottle). The idea is so simple you don’t have to explain it.

Good strategy: The brand’s global platform, ‘it has to be Heinz,’ was born out of the insight that fans will go to extreme lengths for their favourite Heinz products. In this case, Heinz gave them what they wanted after testing it with them first. And it isn’t the first time Heinz has reacted to culture and let its community shape a product, with past collaborations including the ‘Tomato Vodka Pasta Sauce’ inspired by Gigi Hadid’s viral recipe. These brand partnerships may feel momentary at the time, but Heinz is clearly playing the long game.

Good timing: Yes, my first reaction was that it was a bit late to the party, but the timing is smart. There’s both a Heinz hook (the start of BBQ season) and a Barbie hook (the 65th anniversary), and they gave enough breathing space to make the sauce a reality and ensure it didn’t get lost in a sea of pink that was last year.

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