Peter Whent

July 17, 2023

This article was originally published in the week of the "BBC Presenter Scandal".

On a scale of zero to piss my pants, how excited am I?

In some decades nothing happens.

And in some weeks decades happen, and what a week it’s been.

A much loved figure.

Someone who has given so much during a long distinguished career.

This week they’ve been everywhere you look.

And we know the full story is yet to be told.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for The Barbie Movie 👩🏼‍🦳💄👠

After a week that’s brought a whole new meaning to the term "chequebook journalism", Barbie World’s marketing blitz has been my happy place.

The little oasis of innocence shut off from the ravages of modern life.

A place where Ken has yet to discover what should be inside his “Safari Ken Costume” shorts, and where Only Fans is yet to exist.

But our visit to Barbie’s home town is fleeting.

The offices of Barbie owners Mattel is where I want to take you now. Sitting like a fly on the wall, listening to the marketing team discuss the next Barbie movie billboard.

The Campaign Director is the one in the blue Patagonia gilet, clutching a cold cup anxiously to his bosom.

The team are staring at a billboard mock-up.

It’s a picture of Barbie and Ken rollerblading. There’s a logo, the names of the cast, the release date, a strap line and on and on.

Mr Anxious Cold Cup breaks the silence:

“Lose the Ken and Barbie photo”

“Yes boss”

“Then lose the logo”


“Then lose the actors names and the strap line”

“But boss that just leaves a pink bill board and a release date”

“Exactly. Publish it”

Come on Barbie let's go marketing.

If you want a big oak tree in your garden, the best time to plant is 50 years ago.

The Barbie billboard that hit the streets was a masterpiece.

The genius was that every Barbie fan knew exactly what the billboard was saying.

The pink told them what. The date told them when.

Everyone else took to social media to find out.

The reason it worked was because Mattel planted the seeds 50 years ago.

That’s when they introduced the Barbie Pink in an effort to market her to young girls.

Not any pink, and that is the key.

It’s Barbie Pink. It has it’s own Pantone shade which is copyrighted. Nothing else will do.

That brand discipline means that 50 years later just a colour is enough. It's allowed them to run one the great brand awareness campaigns by simply covering the world in pink for a few months.

Discipline and consistency in messaging is a super power.

If I said to you “Every Little Helps” you’d know exactly who I was talking about.

That’s because Tesco has been saying it for 29 years.

Just like Finger Lickin’ Good (1950s)


Just Do it (1988).

I hear you. You’re muttering something about “Big budget”

I’m muttering right back at you, “No”

Anyone can do it within their own audience.

We have a specific red we use on our web site and in all our visuals (RGB code: #AB2328). No other red will do.

We have a couple of phrases we repeat a lot in all of our content and messaging.

“No-one gives a shit about you or your product”

“Don’t be boring”

I completely filled my nappy when I read someone on LinkedIn about two months ago say:

“As Peter Whent says, no-one gives a shit about you…”

What was the budget for that little piece of brand recognition?


Just a couple of years of repeating it everywhere.

Not quite a Barbie billboard, but small acorns and all that.

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