3 Lessons for Product Owners from 'Barbenheimer'

3 Lessons for Product Owners from 'Barbenheimer'

Three key lessons from Barbienheimer any product owner, demand planner, or marketing analyst can take away from this viral trend.

You’ve likely heard about the viral trend called ‘Barbenheimer.’ Today, we’re going to break down the 3 key lessons any product owner, demand planner, or marketing analyst can take away from this viral trend.

What is ‘Barbenheimer’? It’s a viral term originating from TikTok, where users overlayed scenes and actors from the recent movies ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ overtop of each other. The thematic and tone differences between the two movies exaggerated each other, leading to memes and videos. Besides the memes, ‘Barbenheimer’ is only the most recent example of how viral social media trends arise and how product marketing is a wild beast – difficult to predict and impossible to control.

Here are 3 lessons that product stakeholders – product owners, marketing teams, supply chain professionals, and demand planners – can take away from ‘Barbenheimer’:

Lesson 1: Being Ahead of the Curve Sets You Apart

Catching a trend before it hits the peak unlocks many opportunities. You can read about them in our blog post here. You can adjust websites to feature trending products, change in-store placements, or adjust promotional planning.

But one major benefit outside of product or inventory planning is to enhance your brand. To be “in.”

Presenter, Tali Remennik, speaking on predicted trends in 2023

This is a picture of Tali Remennik, Granularity CEO on June 14 at an event talking about how pink, and specifically pink cargo pants are flagged by our AI models to be trending. One week later, social media posts about pink pants increased by +200% and searches increased by +300%.

Since then, Barbie was released and pink became the “in” color. Googling ‘barbie’ alone at the moment causes a pink dazzle and a pink-themed Google homepage. We at Granularity managed to be ahead of this trend. No fortune magic ball was needed. Only Granularity’s AI models. And at the end of the day, we were “in.”

Here is the searches history for the color pink in Canada. Where is the curve?

That’s the question that has cost billions in additional cost as retailers hold onto excess stock. But without a magic fortune telling ball, the curve is almost impossible to see before it’s too late.

Lesson 2: Your Product Doesn’t Live in a Vacuum

For some marketing professionals this is not news; your whole job is getting the product out of the vacuum of your company and into the domain of the public. Demand planners and product owners, however, can sometimes miss the fact that their sales are an effect, not a cause, of a wider zeitgeist.

For example, ‘Barbie’ was advertised through the spectrum of a Barbie movie, retro-fun and big names bringing a childhood and pop icon to life. ‘Oppenheimer’ was created as a serious reflection of the sobriety of innovation gone-wild. On the face of it, these two movies could not be more dissimilar.

Yet the world is a wild place, and the interconnectedness of social media means ideas can grow and mutate rapidly. Products that nominally share a space – while being as different as a Barbie doll and a nuclear bomb – can quickly become tied together in a consumer trend.

In day-to-day terms, this means that your marketing isn’t just for your own brand. Athleisure wear sellers may want to understand what Lululemon is marketing this quarter, since it may spike demand in related products.

Barbie spent $150 million on marketing. Oppenheimer’s marketing strategy was “low-key”. And yet, ‘Barbenheimer’ has floated both on a consumer trend wave.

It’s tempting to wave your hands at a consumer trend and say, “who could’ve predicted that?” That’s usually accompanied by an acceptance of a stock-out, mistimed promotional offer, or other lack of revenue generated.

But cinema’s this past week reminded us that rapidly responding to consumer trends can increase revenue. Massively.

‘Barbenheimer’ has not just mattered for Warner Bro’s and Universal Pictures. Cinemas across North America have had a record month of box-office revenue. Cineplex posted a record month. AMC had its best ever revenue week in its 103-year history. And all of this occurred after the devastation of the pandemic on movie-going consumer habits.

But the nostalgia and summer drive to the theatre was not the only cause for record-breaking weeks at cinemas. Even more important was their flexibility to trends. As reported by Globe and Mail in Canada, cinemas cashed in on the ‘Barbenheimer’ trend with higher ticket prices at some screenings.

For sales and product teams, catching a micro-trend and making adjustments to pricing and inventory can create massive effects on revenue.

About Granularity

Granularity empowers retailers and brands to stay ahead of viral trends with an AI-powered platform that predicts social media and search trends. Granularity’s work was recently featured in the Toronto Star and they were named the top supply chain startup in Toronto.

Please direct media inquiries to [email protected].

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