Tag Archives: brand management

Mattel Reboots Older Brands

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:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a PLC and place toys into each stage of the PLC.
  3. How do toys move through the PLC?
  4. Why bring back the older toy lines?
  5. View a timeline of Mattel’s evolution: https://corporate.mattel.com/history
  6. Also show Mattel’s brand portfolio: https://corporate.mattel.com/brand-portfolio
  7. 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Datsun and Internet Explorer Bite the Dust

As we’ve written in previous articles, no product lives forever. There are always new innovations, trends, social forces, competition, and technologies that push products forward. Ultimately, every product eventually reaches its final stage in the Product Life Cycle (PLC) – decline/harvest – when the product is put to sleep and resources are reallocated to up-and-coming new products.

Two more products joined the eliminated list: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Datsun cars.

Datsun helped Japanese car manufacturers break into the American and European market after World War II. In its heyday, 20 million Datsun cars were sold in 190 countries across the world. The Datsun name was phased out in the 1980s, only to be revived 30 years later as “an important part of Nissan’s DNA.” However, Datsun eventually reversed the decision, making Nissan the primary company brand for the auto maker.

Joining Datsun on the gone-but-not-forgotten product list is Internet Explorer – the Web browser that many say really started the popularity of the Internet. First launched in 1995, IE was the dominant browser for many years, reaching 90% of users in early 2000s. But competition from Google Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox finally proved to be too much. All is not lost however; in its place will be Microsoft Edge browser.

Farewell to our old favorite brands.

Welcome to the newcomers!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a PLC and place various products and services into each stage?
  3. How are cars moved through the PLC?
  4. How does technology move through the PLC? What are the adoption cycles?
  5. Show video of Internet Explorer death: https://youtu.be/wZoZV6GjzPA
  6. We’ve seen other products revived after being declared “dead.” What would it take to revive these two brands?

Sources:  Jacobsen, R. (15 June 2022). Internet Explorer has retired. Associated Press.; Nissan signals end of road for Datsun cars. (25 April 2022). BBC News.; other news sources.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Product Placements used to Increase Brand Awareness

Product placements are not unique to today’s times of streaming services. This has been going on for years as companies seek brand recognition and association with influencing characters. The first documented example of product placement was attributed to the Lumiere brothers in 1896 when they featured soap in a film “Washing day in Switzerland.” And in the 1930s Proctor & Gamble began sponsoring daytime dramas featuring its products.

From that humble beginning, today’s product placement has generated an industry worth an estimated $23 billion today.

Why product placement? As marketers know, consumers don’t like to watch commercials. Recent research indicates that 74% of online adults in the U.S. often skip ads. This makes it critical for marketers to get their product in front of consumers in a realistic and organic way. As consumers stream more content, product placements are up and advertising spending is trending down.

The best product placements fit the scene and reflect well on the characters and the brand. No one wants to see their product blow up in the hero’s face on TV! The product doesn’t even have to be show; characters who mention the brand are still effective (verbal product placement). Viewers also respond stronger to brands place earlier in the show rather than later. (Kind of like how Super Bowl ads are more expensive in the first quarter of the game than at the end.)

Core Hydration Water seems to be in a lot of places lately. It’s distinctive bottle shape and color are in various shows on several streaming services and networks: “He’s all that,” Riverdale,” “Nancy Drew,” “Love in the time of coronoa,” “Below Deck,” and “How I met your father.”

Dell Computers tries to be in as many places as possible to highlight its products: “Succession,” The sex lives of college girls,” and “And just like that.” Zillow, the real estate site, also uses product placements and product mentions: “Dead to me,” “Grace and Frankie,” and “Never have I ever.”

What have you noticed?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Hollywood Branded Website for examples of product placement: https://hollywoodbranded.com/
  2. Ask students to name three TV shows or movies that they recently viewed.
  3. Next, ask them to name at least three products that they can recall seeing in the show. Were those products there by accident?
  4. Show a video clip of one of the TV shows or movies. The clips can usually be found on www.hulu.com, www.youtube.com, and other sites.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose two products they would like to have placed in a TV show.
  6. How would these products be incorporated? What is the show/movie? What is the desired result?

Sources:  Haigney, S. (24 June 2022). Anatomy of a product placement. New York Times.; Fossen, B. (14 September 2021). Product placement is a $23 billion business and growing. Here’s why brands keep betting on it. Fast Company.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities