How we used Barbie to gain traction in the SERPs - Bottled Imagination Skip to main content

How we used Barbie to gain traction in the SERPs đź’ˇ

Hey up. This is Unbottled, your very own PR genie. Just rub the virtual lamp and let us grant you 3 wishes: knowledge, creativity, and 100 followed links.

Here’s what we’re serving up today:

  • The Barbenheimer phenomenon – PRs take note
  • How we used Barbie to gain traction in the SERPs
  • Falling for a scam: what happens when you “pay for coverage”


So did all the hype turn into sales for the movie industry? The answer is unequivocally yes. With Barbie pulling in $155million and Oppenheimer grossing $80.5million over the weekend the movie theatres have had their best weekend since Avengers: Endgame 4 years ago.

Did being released on the same day impact the sales? Hard to tell. But around 200,000 Americans bought tickets to see both on the same day. That’s a lot of film, and a lot of butts going to sleep.

We’re not going to go into a “what can we learn from the Barbenheimer success” classic story. Open up your LinkedIn and you will have hundreds of carbon copies staring at you in the face.

But what we will say is that both films prove there is an appetite for originality. Audiences crave new stories. Could you even tell us what number Mission Impossible got released last week? Or which Indiana Jones we’re on now? I couldn’t.

The same content gets boring quickly. And the same goes for your PR.

Take risks, and execute campaigns that will surprise and delight. Creativity and ambitious work will have far more of a meaningful impact on your consumers than that same old company update. Trust us.


Straight in from our Creative Strategy Director, Luke Cope – here’s one for the strategists amongst us…When your starting position is way back in the SERPs for a particular category you want to measure the effectiveness of your work in realistic stages.

The example below is from what our team have been working on for a client, don’t worry, it’s related to Barbie… :point_down:

:point_right: Short term: Identify key categories and build links to them

Step 1 – Toys are identified as being a key category. Not only for the client’s point of view but from the level of opportunity available in organic search.

Step 2 – Build links into that category. This isn’t easy. We built 11 links directly into the toys category with stories focused on key toy brands such as Barbie. We did this using cause and trends i.e. we find a trend and identify a cause of that trend. There have been loads of opportunities around this with the Barbie movie launch.

:point_right: Medium term: Track causation

Step 3: Measure causation by tracking ranking increases around that category and terms within that category.

The image below shows the average rank increasing for Barbie-related terms, a category that has just started picking up some impressions and traffic in organic search. The average rank has gone from 40th to 16th (Average rank in GSC can be misleading but rankings in our trackers show increases too)

:point_right: Long term: Business ImpactStep 4: Do the above steps consistently and eventually you’ll be able to show a business impact. Increases in sales and revenue vs previous periods and previous years from key categories.

Rinse and repeat for the most lucrative categories, starting with the lowest hanging fruit where your average rank is already 10-20 and there is a reasonable link gap to bridge vs top-ranking competitors.

Reactive PR can and should be linked to your overall search strategy. If you want to have a chat, you know what to do.


Possibly my favourite story this week came from TechCrunch, and it is one I am sure we can all relate to.

Have you ever had a cold outreach promising you coverage on a publication for just a simple fee?

Well, TechCrunch wordsmith @haje got offered this very message, decided to see what would happen if he purchased this story, and yep you guessed it. Got scammed.

This is well worth a read.

You can read the full article here.

So this is your reminder: if someone tells you they can 100% get your company covered by a specific news site, they’re lying.

Although the previous story was based on Fiverr scammers, there are cowboys out there in the PR industry. Firms “guaranteeing” coverage. This isn’t possible.

Journalists decide what is newsworthy that day, not PRs.