MATTEL – IS THE FUTURE LOOKING BRIGHTER?
Mattel have a new CEO…again! In these crazy times we’re living through in the toy business, the announcement that Mattel’s ‘old’ CEO Margo Georgiadis was leaving barely even raised a flutter.
Georgiadis in all fairness did not seem to be an obvious choice bearing in mind her background in Tech companies not consumer product companies. While her undoubted knowledge and expertise of 21st century media platforms was clearly intended to help her modernise Mattel’s media strategies, even a quick glance at her Linked In profile would reveal a lack of physical consumer product and physical product development experience. Even Hasbro, that modern day doyen of entertainment content still make the mass bulk of their revenue from physical product sales. So expecting Georgiadis to ‘get’ the huge product development churn we are all used to in the toy business seems (especially now) a very risky bet.
The other apparent gap in Georgiadis’ experience was kids entertainment content – that pillar of the toy business – and which should surely be Mattel’s priority as they battle to grow long established brands in the era of content and kids entertainment brand proliferation, plus the imperative of managing and nurturing the HIT Entertainment portfolio of franchises Mattel acquired not that far in the recent past.
Looking forward – the next new CEO Ynon Kreiz appears to have a more relevant experience base. Much has been made of the fact that Mr. Kreiz has history of selling companies to Disney. At this stage I don’t think a Disney acquisition of Mattel is that likely (although anything is possible, especially in topsy turvy 2018). Arguably though, what Mattel desperately needs as priority 2 (after core brand growth) is to win some big new rights from Disney – and Mr. Kreiz’ experience and relationships with Disney may help with that.
Mr. Kreiz has far more experience of the world of entertainment content vs his predecessor, with his work at Maker Labs, Fox Kids and Endemol. Via these roles he also has experience of consumer products and specifically toys. He therefore seems way better qualified than his predecessor, and at this stage looks like the best bet to turnaround the company’s fortunes.
At the time of writing Mattel just announced better than expected quarterly results, so maybe this venerable giant of the toy business is at last on the rise again…
by Steve Reece, CEO of Kids Brand Insight www.KidsBrandInsight.com, a leading toy expert consultancy to toy companies around the world. Services include Sourcing/factory finding especially in India & other ‘new’ manufacturing economies, toy business consultancy and product representation.