Financial TimesFinancial Times

Elon Musk and Barbie show just how intangible a brand can be

By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson

28 Jul 2023 · 2 min read

When Mattel hosted a New York screening for its Barbie movie earlier this month, film-maker Greta Gerwig marvelled at how “brave” the toymaker had been at letting her play with its brand.

The film’s portrayal of an idiotic all-male Mattel board and questioning of its role in encouraging consumerism and bizarre body images was a gamble few marketers would take. According to Brand Finance, which calls itself the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy, it was a calculated risk: Barbie’s brand is now worth $701mn, up from $588mn last year, even if a surge in sales is not yet visible in Mattel’s earnings.

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