Warner Bros Ignores ‘Barbie’ Poster’s Risqué French Pun

Greta Gerwig’s upcoming Barbie movie got a lot of attention last week when a picture from another country went viral on the internet.

At first look, the French version of the poster with Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken didn’t seem too bad. But the French title caused trouble because it was a double entendre based on slang.

The tagline, “Elle peut tout faire. Lui, c’est juste Ken,” means “She can do everything. He’s just Ken,” also has a second meaning in French, where “ken” is slang for “fuck.” So, the slogan can be read in an NSFW way: “She knows how to do everything. He just knows how to fuck.”

As expected, this “accidental” or “unfortunate” translation was quickly picked up on the internet. French Twitter users posted pictures of the poster along with comments about the “mistake” or “mistake.” The news spread like lightning, and millions saw some of the first tweets of people.

When you look at the title more closely, it seems to back up this idea. “Barbie is everything. He’s just Ken,” was the original English slogan for Barbie. The French translation was different. Instead of “Barbie est tout,” it was changed to “Barbie peut tout faire,” which means (“Barbie can do anything”). This fits well with Ken’s slangy line and its suggestive meanings.

A French marketing executive from a rival studio said, “It’s definitely deliberate; there’s no way a French speaker wouldn’t have noticed the dirty pun.” The executive went on to praise how smart it was to sneak it into the ad and said that the move was brilliant.

When asked for a statement, Warner Bros. refused to say if the risqué French pun was done on purpose or by accident. Still, they made it clear that they were happy with how much attention the sign got on social media, both in France and around the world.

A Warner Bros. Discovery representative said, “The speculation surrounding the Barbie marketing campaign shows that there is a high level of awareness and significant excitement among the public for the upcoming release of our film in France. We can’t wait for audiences around the world to see the film upon its release next month.”