Barbie: unquestionably the most popular phenomenon of summer 2023 and probably one of the most important of the entire year.
The film has already become iconic and its impact has run through several fields worldwide: culture, society, trends, social media, fashion, vocabulary.
It is therefore no coincidence that the influence of the film-event Barbie has invested the footwear industry and, in particular, the sandal business!
Barbie ‘Margot Robbie’ wears Birkenstock sandals
In one of the film’s most popular scenes, the actress Margot Robbie – who plays the role of the toy doll – wears a pair of Birkenstock sandals. Not only that! The choice of whether to wear a pair of Birkenstock sandals or a pair of pink heels (Barbie style) takes on a very strong narrative connotation within the film.
Barbie is asked to choose between ‘the dream life‘ and ‘everyday life’, between the ‘sacrifice of elegance and style’ and ‘the anonymity of comfort’.
Birkenstock, one of the best known German brands in the world
The famous Birkenstock brand was founded more than two and a half centuries ago in Germany. A history of entrepreneurship and innovation among the most historic and globally recognised in the footwear industry.
The first products sold were flexible insoles, made in two workshops in Frankfurt by master shoemaker Konrad Birkenstock in 1896.
Over the years, the company specialised in the design and manufacture of custom-made shoes with innovative insoles. The special ‘blaues fussbett’ insole becomes one of the most popular and marketed products.
Furthermore, 1947 saw the publication of ‘Orthopaedics of the Foot – Carl Birkenstock System’, in which ‘natural walking’ was theorised, followed by the creation of health shoes. Success was unstoppable and the publication became a landmark in orthopaedics at the time.
In 1963, ‘Madrid’, the first sandal with a flexiblefootbed, was launched on the market. It was a great market success and was regarded as the forerunner of the ‘comfortable shoe’.
In the following years, Birkenstock sandals became the synonym for the comfortablewalking shoe and achieved worldwide success.
‘Ugly for a reason’, comfort as a symbol in mass culture
Birkenstock sandals are comfortable! In popular culture, however, an inescapable belief has gradually taken hold: aesthetics and comfort never coexist. This is not true; or rather, it is not always the case.
Aware of the difficulty of changing the consumer’s mind, Birkenstock has therefore decided to stake everything on risky and at the same time very effective communication.
‘Ugly for a reason’ is a successful claim resulting from a collaboration between Birkenstock and the New York Times which, through a series of documentaries, tells why ‘healthy shoes’ should look the way they do and how this means ‘anatomicality’, benefits and health for people.
This is why in the film Barbie, Birkenstock becomes a symbol of a modus vivendi, associated with a non-conformist and ‘mature’ imagery, as opposed to a carefree, fairy-tale and naive lifestyle in which health is put on the back burner.
Birkenstock boosts sales thanks to Barbie traction
The amazing combination of the Barbie films and the Birkenstock brand showed that unexpected collaborations can lead to exceptional results.
Combining the worlds of fashion and animated films, this marriage captured the imagination of consumers, causing sales of Birkenstock sandals to grow exponentially
The ‘Arizona’ model in particular achieved a 110% increase in sales just a few days after the film’s release. Furthermore, searches for Birkenstock sandals have grown enormously in recent days on search engines.
Driven by its recent commercial and media success, Birkenstock is considering listing the stock on the stock exchange, according to several credible sources.