07 Case Study

Buying Media for Iconic Brands: Innovative Out of Home for Relevance + Action

OOH Media For An Iconic Brand

Iconic Brands: The Challenge

One of the largest global toy manufacturers sought to re-engage retailers, young fans, parents and the press. For an iconic brand with many stakeholders and cross-generational fans, innovative out-of-home media proved to be a win for all.

Iconic brands can be tricky. Historic brands carry special meaning to many audiences. For an iconic toy franchise, brand leadership had three constituencies:

  1. Parents, with their own childhood memories of the brand,
  2. Investors and licensors with financial interests in sustaining brand value, and
  3. Kids – who crave constant content, equating consumer brands with media brands like YouTube Kids, Snapchat, and Netflix.

Innovative Out-of-Home (OOH) media amplified awareness, burnishing the brand’s resonance and iconic status.


In 2017, The top 20 worldwide merchandise licensors exceeded $177B in retail sales. Today, estimates are even higher. Brand equity is high stakes. To make the greatest market impact, paid media strategy is best used efficiently, in a way that sustains/maintains the relevancy of iconic brands.

We’ve been privileged to work with with many of the world’s best known iconic brands.

Paid Media Case Study: Barbie® “I Can Be”

Our work for Barbie® capitalized on the brand’s own built-in brand equity. We ran in tandem with a PR-led “story:” creating headlines, grabbing attention in print and digital media. Paid media then echoed this buzz for maximal impact through innovative out-of-home media, amplifying the brand’s real life recognition and resonance.

Our paid media strategy tapped clever, on-brand, innovative out-of-home media, encouraging social and viral buzz. The campaign encouraging brand enthusiasts to vote on the next chapter of this toy’s ever-evolving storyline.

Innovative out-of-home takes research and preparation. Traffic studies with key demographic insights informed strategists’ decisionmaking at Criterion Global. Location choice and creative vibrance was key for site-selection in our OOH paid media strategy. In strategic US cities, we leveraged high-visibility transit media, alongside unexpected tactics like wild posting and guerilla media.

Finally, our deep understanding of B2B licensing decision makers included “can’t-miss” exposure nearby the event heralded to be the “largest toy trade show in the Western hemisphere.”

Iconic Brands + Impact:

The overall campaign for Barbie® was a wild success, striking a modern tone for a long-beloved cultural symbol, re-engaging fans at every age group. The innovative out-of-home placements went viral and over 600,000 online votes were cast over a four-week period. The campaign received extensive press in national media, including front page coverage in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Given the right approach, paid media strategy is a critical part of maintaining relevancy for iconic brands. Done well, it can pay dividends for brand equity, licensing value, and business health for the short- and longterm.

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