In the song “Pink,” Lizzo harmonizes “And pink goes with everything; Beautiful from head to toe; All ready to go, you know, you know.” As movie goers gear up for the release of the Greta Gerwig-directed “Barbie,” there’s no shortage of consumers and brands incorporating pink with everything. But will these entities experience the same magic that many are expecting from the comedic film?
New York-based Swoon is among those that found a way to amalgamate the female-founded brand’s mission of delivering refreshing zero-sugar beverages with the iconic toy brand. In June, Swoon brought Barbiecore to the beverage aisle with the limited-edition release of Barbie x Swoon Pink Lemonade.
Though the timing was ideal to align with the release of film, Jennifer Ross, co-founder of Swoon, notes that this was a partnership long in the making.
“We’re huge fans of Barbie ― like everyone else ― so really we just wanted to align with a brand we have so much love for,” Ross explains. “We reached out directly last year to get in touch with Mattel. They heard our mission to reduce sugar consumption, and it was a no brainer on our end to move forward with a partnership.”
A Type 1 diabetic, Ross notes that she has tried nearly every zero sugar drink on the market. This motivated her and co-founder Cristina Ros Blankfein to create a beverage that has an indulgence feel to it, but does not add to a person’s daily sugar consumption.
“[A]s I got older, I realized just how bad sugar is for everyone ― over 50% of Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic, which is why Cristina and I created Swoon,” Ross says. “We wanted to help everyone reduce their sugar consumption by creating an all-natural zero sugar drink that didn’t feel like a ‘diet’ or diabetic drink.”
Additionally, being a female-founded brand, Swoon’s mission and messaging aligned with the Barbie brand.
“Partnering with a brand like Barbie that has always promoted female entrepreneurship, the alignment was incredibly natural and came together quite seamlessly,” Ross explains. “To further our commitment to our shared goals, we donated 10% of net sales to support the Barbie Dream Gap Project, which provides resources, curriculum, skills development and leadership opportunities to girls between the ages of five and 10 across the globe.”
With two brands so closely aligned, the final question is whether consumers will welcome the partnership with the same enthusiasm. According to Ross, consumers were just as excited as Swoon and Barbie.
“It’s been insane, in the best way,” Ross says. “Barbie is such an iconic brand and speaks to so many different types of consumers. During the launch month of June, we actually had our highest volume sales month of all time. In addition to the single cans and cases, we also sold a Barbie x Swoon branded beverage fridge and a full summer stock of cans ― 2,400 in total ― which have gotten some great traction from our biggest fans.”
Retail partners of Swoon also have been impressed with how the partnership has resonated with consumers.
“The Barbie x Swoon Pink Lemonade is currently sold in select Whole Foods Market locations on the East Coast,” says Joanne Neugebauer, Whole Foods Market category merchant. “Our customers have been loving the refreshing summer beverage and fun collaboration so much that we are seeing about one can sold every two to three minutes. With all the excitement, we’ve already made plans to offer the drink in more stores nationwide by the launch of the movie for at-home streaming. Be sure to also look out for the Barbie x Swoon Jeep heading to Whole Foods Market locations on the East Coast this summer with free samples.”
Ross details the “incredible feedback” the brand has received from retailers on the collaboration and how proud the company is of its performance. Going forward, she hopes that Swoon’s participation in the recent zeitgeist will allow consumers to incorporate the zero-sugar beverage as part of their regular health and wellness routines.
“We see this partnership as a genuine moment for alignment with an iconic brand, and we’ve been so pleased to introduce some of Barbie’s fans to Swoon,” Ross says. “Instead of creating a new flavor for this partnership, we actually reskinned the cans. So, once the collab is over, new fans of the drink can continue drinking the same flavor, which is actually our classic pink lemonade.”