Warner Bros. Discovery CEO (WBD) David Zaslav has a few theories on why the marketing push for the Barbie movie was so successful.
At the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Tech Conference on Wednesday, Zaslav was quick to first credit "Barbie" director Greta Gerwig, who became the first female director to helm a billion-dollar movie, along with the film's creative team.
Another reason for the success of Barbie's marketing campaign, Zaslav said, was the full-court press promoting the movie across all of Warner Bros. Discovery's properties.
"We were able to do something that I don’t think any other company can do," Zaslav told the audience. "Every division of this company got behind Barbie."
According to Zaslav, the force of the company's other assets getting onboard was what helped catapult "Barbie" into the blockbuster stratosphere.
"Shaq and Charles Barkley, they were talking about 'Barbie'," he said. "If you were watching a football match, at halftime, you saw 'Barbie'. Every asset we had was talking about the strength of 'Barbie'. We had shows on HGTV, and every cake on the Food Network for a month was 'Barbie'."
It also represents one of the key advantages that the company has moving forward. Expect more "Barbie"-style all-hands-on-deck moments for other franchises at Warner Bros. Discovery.
"That's the power of Warner Brothers Discovery, and we really believe we operate as one company," Zaslav emphasized. "We're one of the top marketing companies because we have channels everywhere in the world."
It remains to be seen, however, if Warner Bros. Discovery can replicate the success of "Barbie" with its other content, such as DC and Lord of Rings.
The "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" box office hits this summer, known as "Barbenheimer," "benefited from both (1) both films being very high-quality and (2) the viral Barbenheimer meme driving audience interest in a way that we have never seen before," TD Cowen’s Doug Creutz wrote in a note on Tuesday. "Such a combination is unlikely to happen again."
Warner Bros. Discovery stock is up over 20% year to date. Zaslav said there's additional value that can be unlocked from "a 10-year plan around DC."
On Wall Street, Warner Bros. Discovery analysts' recommendations shake out to 16 Buys, 12 Holds, and one Sell.