Overview of Mattel

Topics: Mattel, Barbie, Ruth Handler Pages: 5 (1799 words) Published: May 12, 2013
Mattel by Felicia Martinez

It is hard not to think of Mattel when one thinks of toy manufacturers. After all, in 1959 when Mattel introduced their product the Barbie doll they became the forefront of the toy industry and have not backed down from that position since. Before they became the toy industry giant they are today Mattel simply started in a garage workshop in Southern California by entrepreneurs Ruth Handler, Elliot Handler, and Harold Matson. Harold Matson soon sold his share of the company and the Handlers took full control (Patten, 2008). Despite the fact that their success was gained by the manufacturing and distribution of toys, Mattel started out producing picture frames. It was when Elliot Handler started making dollhouse furniture from the scraps left over from the production of the picture frames that the company started in the direction that would land them on the Fortune 500 list (Bellis, 2012). When Mattel realized that their dollhouse furniture was outselling their original picture frames they decided to make the switch to becoming a toy manufacturing company fulltime. Their first big-seller was a toy ukulele called the "Uke-a-doodle." Following the success of the Uke-a-doodle Mattel became incorporated and moved their headquarters to Hawthorne, California (Corporate Mattel, n.d.). In 1955 Mattel became a toy industry pioneer by buying the rights to produce the popular "Mickey Mouse Club" products. The cross-marketing promotion demonstrated by Mattel became a common practice for future toy manufacturers. Around this time Mattel also introduced another product that became highly successful called the Burp Gun, an automatic cap gun based on a patented mechanism. Four years following this success in 1959 the Barbie doll made its debut. Inspired by the success of cutout paper dolls, Ruth Handler decided a three-dimensional fashion doll would be more enjoyable for little girls to play with (Mary, B, n.d.). As it turns out children happened to agree and Mattel became the most successful toy manufacturer in the world. Their heightened success lead Mattel to become publicly owned, and in 1963 Mattel had its common stock listed on the New York and Pacific Coast Stock Exchanges. By 1965, sales topped $100 million and the company joined the Fortune 500 (Corporate Mattel, n.d.). In 1993 Mattel's brand was further strengthened by a merger with Fisher-Price, the world's number one brand in infant and preschool toys (Mirpuri, 2009). This merger became highly beneficial for Mattel. In 1996 when Fisher Price introduced the Tickle Me Elmo it became a huge and immediate success for the company. Mattel sold more than $100 million worth of Tickle Me Elmos the first year the product was made available to the public, and over $200 million the second (Corporate Mattel, n.d.). Today Mattel remains a dominating force in the toy industry. The products and brands Mattel produces apart from the Barbie doll that made it a success include Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, American Girl dolls, board games, Monster High dolls, Polly Pockets, and the card game Uno (Corporate Mattel, n.d.). Mattel's highly intelligent business practices created many successful cross-marketing opportunities and acquisitions for the company. It is without a doubt that Mattel will remain a leader in the toy manufacturing industry for many years to come. Trends in the Toy Industry

The toy industry is as of 2013 is healthy, thriving, and continuing to grow. Recently toy manufacturers have taken notice of the fact that children are becoming more drawn to their parent’s electronics such as Ipads and smartphones. As a result of this trend, toy manufacturers are incorporating gadgets, interactive elements, and technology into their products (Adelsen-Yan, 2013). In keeping with this trend in 2009 Mattel made its first appearance on the show floor of the International Consumer Electronics Show. A few of the toys Mattel debuted...

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