The new Margot Robbie-led film Barbie is set to release on July 21, and a recent teaser left many fans with more questions than answers. Although many fans may be excited about its release, one Barbie advertisement reigns supreme as one of the strangest videos involving a Barbie doll on the internet. The video is an advertisement created by non-other than Oscar-nominated director David Lynch.
David Lynch’s Barbie video features the filmmaker having a conversation with a Barbie doll. Lynch takes on the role of both himself and Barbie, whose face he holds cupped in his hand throughout the duration of the advertisement. The jarringly slow pace of David Lynch’s conversation with the Barbie doll and the long duration of the advertisement (the whole thing clocks in at about 4 minutes) makes the whole thing a surprisingly unsettling watch, even if nothing happens.
The twinkling music gives the advertisement the air of some maladjusted fairytale. David Lynch’s disaffected tone and the randomly inserted diegetic sounds make it seem like Lynch is on the go and carrying the Barbie doll around with him, although the actual surroundings are never confirmed. Unlike Ryan Gosling‘s upcoming role as Ken, there is nothing charming about Lynch’s turn opposite Barbie.
There’s something deeply unsettling about the continued closeup of the Barbie’s face with its plastic smile and soulless blue eyes. David Lynch’s camerawork allows the focus to fade in and out, and the doll’s head lays at an awkward angle, almost as if it has a snapped neck. The Barbie doll eventually asks Lynch what he’s drinking, to which he responds that he’s drinking David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee, finally clueing viewers to the advertisement’s purpose.
After Barbie’s questions about whether the coffee is organic and fair trade, Lynch offers to make it a cup of coffee. Finally, after what feels like the longest three and a half minutes ever, the scene fades away and reveals the final panel with a bag of David Lynch Cofee and the tagline “Real Good” plastered on the screen. After viewing the ad, the whole thing feels like a dreamlike experience, with many viewers questioning what the hell they just watched.
Released in 2011, Adweek ranked the advertisement as the 2nd Freakiest Ad of 2011. When the ad was first released, American toy company and Barbie doll maker Mattel asked Lynch to remove the video from his site. Now, as the teaser for 2023’s Barbie was recently released, David Lynch’s video may be circulating again as unknowing users searching for a Barbie ad may be in for a shock.
David Lynch is an American filmmaker known for his work on the mystery drama series Twin Peaks and the neo-noir film Mulholland Drive. His distinctive style and surrealist approach to filmmaking have garnered him critical acclaim, and the director was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 2019. Written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, the production value of the upcoming Barbie film trumps that of David Lynch’s, but both share a surrealist quality that hints at some deeper psychological underpinnings for the plastic-faced icon.
The Greta Gerwig-directed Barbie sports a star-studded cast alongside Robbie and Gosling, including Simu Liu, Issa Rae, Emma Mackey, Will Ferrell, Michael Cera, and others. According to IMDb, Helen Mirren takes on the role of the Narrator. Despite the cast of various versions of Barbies and Kens in a surreal too-pink Barbieland, David Lynch’s take on the character will remain one of the most deeply unsettling of all time, even after the film is released.