Written by Ethan Mort

While box office profits have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, they have slowly bounced back year after year. So far, $4.46B has been netted at the domestic box office from January to June, a 20% increase over the same time period last year. The summer has always been a big boon for Hollywood movie sales, with the largest titles often coming out around this time. This year, AdImpact has tracked 419K ad airings on television promoting 45 movies that released between May 1st and August 16th.  These ads range from advertising a film’s theatrical release to its digital or streaming release. Oppenheimer was the summer blockbuster that saw the most ad airings on television this year. 

Bar chart showing ad airings of summer blockbuster

Oppenheimer has a wide ad airings advantage, garnering nearly double the airings of every other summer blockbuster. Out of the top ten movies based on ad airings, Disney distributed half of them: Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3, Elemental, Indiana Jones, The Little Mermaid, and Haunted Mansion.  

Barbie and Oppenheimer releasing on the same date enabled some comparisons between the two movies. When comparing both movies’ marketing, some interesting trends can be found. Oppenheimer has more than double Barbie’s ad airings on linear television, and double Barbie’s television ad impressions (views). Utilizing our CTV measurement technology via our data partner Inscape, Oppenheimer’s ads on CTV netted 28 million more impressions than Barbie’s CTV ads. However, while Oppenheimer more than doubled Barbie’s traditional ad airings, Barbie has made more than $1B in the global box office. Barbie’s commercial success as the projected highest grossing film released this year despite their comparatively lower TV ad airing suggests a differentiated marketing focus with their reported $150M marketing budget

Oppenheimer had a marketing head start over Barbie. Oppenheimer ads began appearing on traditional media beginning on March 12th, with a 15 second ad highlighting the movie’s summer release. Comparatively, Barbie’s first ad dropped on May 21st with an ad that promised views that “if you love Barbie, this movie is for you. And “if you hate Barbie, this movie is for you.” After this point, Barbie’s ad airings on traditional media picked up steam, temporarily surpassing Oppenheimer’s ad airings until Oppenheimer nearly quadrupled its ad airings between July 2nd and July 9th. While Oppenheimer had more ad airings than Barbie, there are still ongoing ads for Barbie on traditional media, while ads for Oppenheimer ended on July 30th.  

The Barbie movie’s ad campaign went beyond airings for its own movie. Multiple different advertisers featured Margot Robbie’s Barbie in their ads. One example was Chevrolet, which featured scenes from the Barbie movie in an ad that advertised their new Chevy Blazer electric vehicle. This ad aired more than 2,000 times across the nation on television. Progressive also got in the pink craze, by having Flo and the rest of the Progressive crew stand in front of Barbie’s dream house from the movie in an ad that was aired 51K times around the country on television. Barbie was the one Summer blockbuster you couldn't escape hearing about this Summer.   

(This article was originally written August 26th and sections of it appeared in TVTechnology)

For more ad analysis on the entertainment industry, check out our blog on Streaming platforms broadcast ad analysis.

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