Consider classic Mattel toys such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Jurassic World, Star Wars, American Girl, Masters of the Universe, Monster High, Thomas & Friends, and many more. What are your favorites?
And of course, since it was founded in 1945, Mattel also had many toys over the years that are no longer in play.
Barbie (one of Mattel’s oldest brands) must have been lonely and looking for her old friends as Mattel has now reintroducing several older toy lines that have not been on the shelves in decades! Welcome back to Major Matt Mason, Big Jim, and Pulsar. (All lines that students, and most likely their parents, are unfamiliar with.)
The revitalized toys will be launched under the banner of “Back in Action” as a way to revive old brands and capitalize on Mattel’s intellectual property. Mattel is also using Comic-Con as an important marketing tool for launching the toys lines. To help sell toys into the collectible market, the action figures will be in smaller sizes.
The reintroduction of old brands is not unusual in toys. Consider how Mattel capitalized on its older Masters of the Universe toys. These were introduced in the 1980s and eventually grew to a $2 billion franchise. As it lost sales, Mattel shelved the intellectual property, but revived it years later as a collectible. Then last year an animated series from Netflix for adults and children reemerged, accompanied by the Masters of the Universe toy line (He-man!).
Welcome back to the old brands!
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
- Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a PLC and place toys into each stage of the PLC.
- How do toys move through the PLC?
- Why bring back the older toy lines?
- View a timeline of Mattel’s evolution: https://corporate.mattel.com/history
- Also show Mattel’s brand portfolio: https://corporate.mattel.com/brand-portfolio
- Student teams: Develop a marketing campaign for one of the three toy lines. What elements are needed?
Sources: Schmidt, G. (19 July 2022). Mattel opens its vault to revitalize dormant brands. New York Times.