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  • Writer's pictureIAZ IONESCU


Updated: Jul 25, 2023

A couple of months ago, mentioning Barbie and ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ in the same sentence seemed almost ludicrous, yet here we are – Barbenheimer. Set to be the biggest week in box office history, the two movies are almost complete opposites, however, their head-to-head race on 21 July 2023 has taken over the marketing industry.

What is it about Barbenheimer that has attracted such a wide audience? Is it the stark contrast in aesthetics, the deep-rooted meaning behind both films, or simply, great marketing tactics? 🤔

Here’s our take on it, keeping it (mostly) spoiler-free…


Contrast – known for drawing out essential elements of a design and adding emphasis, thus, creating enough of a difference between colour/aesthetics/whatever you’re comparing, to truly capture a viewer’s attention.

There’s something that’s pretty amazing about seeing the all-pink vs all-black vibe in the cinema, two colours that couldn’t be much further apart if they tried. Colour, in marketing, is known to evoke emotion and be a huge psychological factor as to what audiences react most with and ‘increasing brand awareness and recognition by 80%’, reported HubSpot.

Subconsciously, the difference in aesthetics between Barbie’s bright, child-like and fun setting vs Oppenheimer’s sombre, dull, black-and-white film creates even more appeal for both movies, sparking curiosity and interest for audiences interested in either movie. 💗🖤


Of course, you can’t compare the effects of the first atomic bomb to a doll, yet the meaning behind both movies has sparked more conversation than if they were launched months apart, or that’s what we think.

Oppenheimer – a movie filled with nerves and apprehension, the USA vs Germany and who would build the first atomic bomb, then followed by the terror of Hiroshima that haunted Oppenheimer and his team, with a twisted betrayal by one of his closest ‘allies’. This film portrayed the horrors of war, from the eyes of the man who contributed to a mass weapon of destruction.

Barbie – the well-known Barbie and Ken characters live in a seemingly perfect world, until Barbie begins to learn the reality of life. This movie encompasses womanhood, life as a young woman, motherhood and more – it seems like Mattel finally realised (kind of) the unrealistic standards that Barbie fed into and its effects.

Both movies have a realistic message behind them, granted the messages behind them may seem very different, meaning they will still impact people and evoke emotion. Marketing either movie is made easier if the movie has an impact on its viewers.

roller blades and smoke


Alas, both movies are set for box office success, and it’s no wonder. Nolan and Gerwig’s talents aren’t to be undermined by saying all success is due to marketing, as both movies have a terrific cast, great cinematography and fantastic directors.

From 70-mm film to fantastic CGI, we don’t doubt that these movies would’ve exceeded expectations without each other to compare to, however, we must also admit that the way Barbenheimer’s aesthetics and meanings collide has made both of these movies that much more exciting.

Which movie would you be going to see first? 🤩

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