The ‘Barbenheimer’ Meme That Blew Up And The Internet Is Now Sick Of


Film stills of Barbie and Oppenheimer

The big Barbie vs Oppenheimer weekend is finally here, heralded by memes and a marketing blitz of epic, or e-pink if you will, proportions by Mattel. Barbie tie-ups crowded the real world and memes inundated the virtual one. One such meme took on a life of its own – a real-life Barbie’s Dream House was listed on Airbnb and it occurred to folks that Oppenheimer PR had the opportunity of a lifetime. For those not up to date, Oppenheimer documents the making of the first atomic bomb. Not only is the film the yin to Barbie‘s yang, thematically, it lends itself to a macabre sort of humour that snowballed on Twitter.

It all began with this meme – a response to the Airbnb Dream house listing that read: “The Barbie Dream House has mysteriously appeared in Malibu. The Oppenheimer marketing team has the opportunity to do the funniest thing possible.” The implication was, of course, that bombing the Dream House would be on-brand for Oppenheimer.

“The Oppenheimer marketing team has the opportunity to do the funniest thing possible” became a meme-within-a-meme with variants popping up online with increasing frequency. To the Internet, the idea of Oppenheimer PR literally blitzing the Barbie onslaught product by product was the bomb, pardon the pun.

It expanded its reach to beyond Barbie and Oppenheimer – and let it be noted that in no way are we condoning the hypothetical bombing these posts suggest.

There is such a thing as overkill even on the Internet and soon enough, folks were fed up.

Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig, brings to life a beloved doll that is actually an IP generating billions of dollars for Mattel. Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling star as Barbie and Ken, backed by an ensemble cast that includes Simu Liu, Dua Lipa, Issa Rae, Michael Cera and Will Ferrell. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is similarly star-studded with Cillian Murphy leading a cast stacked with names like Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon and Josh Hartnett.

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