Exclusive: Sanjay Luthra on the ‘cultural moment’ that is the Barbie movie

Published on: 30th June 2023

Sanjay Luthra, Mattel’s Executive vice president and managing director EMEA, explains how Mattel EMEA will be delivering its largest-ever campaign of retail activations in the UK and EMEA to coincide with the launch of the Barbie movie.  

Toy World publisher John Baulch say it’s always a pleasure to catch up with Sanjay, whose collaborative, partnership-driven approach with customers has played a big part in strengthening Mattel’s relationships across the entire retail spectrum. This has never been more important than it is now, with the Barbie movie out in July: yes, it’s a major summer blockbuster movie, but it is shaping up to be so much more than that: Sanjay describes it as “a cultural moment”, and with the media frenzy and momentum it has been building ahead of the film’s release, it’s hard to disagree.

When Sanjay met with John a couple of weeks ago, he told him that Mattel will be using “the most-anticipated movie of the year” to execute what he describes as “one of the biggest-ever retail activations which any toy brand has ever done. It will also be the biggest-ever investment at retail for Mattel and the Barbie brand.” The exhaustive list of retail partners includes Smyths, Amazon, Carrefour (France), El Cortes Ingles (Spain), and Hamleys and Selfridges for the UK.

The retail activation plan that the Mattel teams have for the toy market is hugely ambitious and literally all-encompassing. Once consumers arrive at retail stores after seeing the movie, they will be met with a series of best-in-class, hugely impactful retail executions: a full 360 franchise approach with an omnichannel presence is guaranteed.

The bold creative vision and execution of the retail support plan is just what you would expect: fresh, modern and high impact. Sanjay believes this is important for the future of Barbie the brand, and Mattel the company: “Ultimately, we want to be more than just a high-performing toy company. And this is more than just a movie – it’s a cultural moment. The film has the opportunity to define what the Barbie brand means for current and future generations of fans.”

To find out how else Mattel EMEA is planning on translating cinema tickets into toy sales, read the full piece published in the July issue of Toy World here.


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