Does a social media video show a giant Barbie-doll hologram walking out of a Barbie box next to Dubai's Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the world's tallest building? No, that's not true: This footage displays a computer-generated image (CGI) video created by a social media ad company based in the United Arab Emirates. The company combined a separate video clip of the Burj Khalifa with an animation featuring the moving Barbie doll. There is no evidence that the U.S. manufacturer of Barbie, Mattel, ever produced a hologram or animatronic of a building-size Barbie in Dubai.
The claim appeared in a tweet (archived here) on July 24, 2023. It featured a 15-second recording of a Barbie doll the size of the nearby Burj Khalifa walking out of a Mattel-labeled pink Barbie box. The caption read:
Barbie's marketing gets crazier by the day. Bravo.
This is what the post looked like on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, at the time of writing:
(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Aug 11 15:27:48 2023 UTC)
The account that posted this tweet implied that the video of the mega-sized, moving Barbie was a marketing gimmick by Mattel. The 2023 Warner Brothers movie "Barbie" has sparked an international fan frenzy over the plastic doll.
However, a Google News search for "Mattel Toy Company Placed A Barbie Hologram In Dubai" led to no results.
In a July 29, 2023, Instagram post, the Eye Studio UAE company shared a CNN interview that featured the company's creative director, Juhi Rupani, speaking about the viral video. Rupani described the Barbie video as a 12-second CGI video. CGI combines software-generated animations with actual video footage -- a technique used to create special effects in movies.
At about the 0:49 mark in a more extended version of the CNN interview, Rupani outright debunked the claim that Dubai contains a Barbie hologram the size of the 163-story skyscraper. Instead, she explained, it is a video of a Barbie animation combined with a separate video taken of the Burj Khalifa:
So, Barbie. Like, everyone loves Barbie. We thought, let's do something about it. Burj Khalifa -- super iconic. We thought, let's implement both of it together.
It took us 10 days to make the video. It takes us about a day to render the video. We shot the footage of Burj Khalifa on the iPhone. ...
We've got so many calls saying that, 'Is this real?' And we've told people this is not real! Like no, it's not, but that's the point of CGI videos -- they're super hyper-realistic.
With CGI technology, not only Barbie can rival the Burj Khalifa's height. Rupani showed CNN how her team added to the video a clip of an animated Robert Oppenheimer, the head of the Los Alamos group that developed the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer, the subject of a biopic released simultaneously with "Barbie," was shown leaning on the Burj Khalifa.
Lead Stories contacted Eye Studio UAE for a statement about the claim found on X and will update this fact check as appropriate if a response is received.