1. Do manufacturers of products for children have special responsibilities to consumers and society? What are these responsibilities, and how well has Mattel met them? Provide evidence of Mattel’s strengths and weaknesses in this area.
Yes, manufacturers of products designed for children have special responsibilities to consumers and society. Because children often lack the literacy to completely understand how things may work, toys must be safe in all use including non intended use in order to protect children. Toy manufacturers must not only create safe toys, but they must be sensitive to societal concerns on children’s rights and privacy. Mattel has met these responsibilities by creating products that consumers and parents trust and building a successful and positive brand image. They also integrate this responsibility with their “Corporate Responsibility” report in which they state their goals are to ensure product safety, volunteer in their communities, and treat colleagues with respect in order to “work hard to be a leader in making our communities – and the lives of children- better.
2. Comment on the strengths and weaknesses of Mattel’s core brands. In looking at Barbie specifically, has Mattel’s success with the American Girl collection cannibalized sales from Barbie? Explain.
Mattel’s core brands have multiple strengths. Mattel’s image overall is one of which parents and consumers trust. The Barbie brand is highly accessorized allowing for multiple products to be marketed and purchased. Other brands such as Hot Wheels and American Girl also have the flexibility to accessorize and customize consumer needs and desires. Some weaknesses that Mattel’s core brands may have are the lifespan of their products. As children grow older, they are no longer interested in playing with dolls and cars such as Barbie and Hot wheels and the life span of the product shortens for continual use.
With the acquisition of...