Best Global Green Brands 2014

local branding

Mattel Localizes Barbie for Education-Focused China Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2013 06:38 PM

Barbie apparently wasn't much of a success in China when the famous doll's focus was all manicures, makeup and party dresses. The company's six-story store in Shanghai closed its doors in 2011, and since, Mattel has been hard at work creating a Barbie more suitable for the Asian culture—one focused instead on education. 

"Joy and learning are like oil and water in China," said Peter Broegger, Mattel's Asia Pacific senior vice president, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. So Mattel is trying to emphasize the learning part of Barbie’s life, releasing such dolls as Violin Barbie, while simultaneously trying to get the government to encourage more play from the children of its nation. "If they allow for more play, half of our marketing is done," Broegger told the Journal. Violin Barbie may be completely disproportionate in her body but she apparently can play a mean Tchaikovsky.Continue reading...

holidaze

Toy Brands Jump Start Holiday Promos to Get Ahead of Sluggish Spending

Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2013 06:39 PM

It's D-Days—Decision Days—for many American parents as they seek to get their holiday shopping done for their kids before the crunch of school programs, seasonal festivities and general mayhem ensues.

And sure enough, Fisher-Price, Toys R Us, Amazon and other brands are showing up with timely messages about how eager they are to help. They're all the more interested to make hay early in the season because the forecast for Christmas spending this year is cloudy at best.

Fisher-Price this season is targeting Millennial moms of kids up to ages five years old and, to accommodate the greater digital sensibilities of this generation, the Mattel-owned brand has boosted its digital-media spend by 50 percent.

"We know we need to reach her in this digital space," Lisa McKnight, Mattel's senior vice president of marketing for North America, told Advertising Age. "They want to make informed decisions when they make their purchases."Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Nokia, Fisher-Price, SAB Miller and more

Posted by Dale Buss on October 22, 2013 09:14 AM

In the News

Nokia unveils its first tablet.

Fisher-Price increases digital spending by half and targets Millennial moms.

SAB Miller targets mixed-gender drinking occasions.

Apple prepares 65-inch TV for release next year, analysts say.

Caesar's Entertainment faces money-laundering probe.

Dollar General pilots gas station.

eBay emerges as training ground for start-up CFOs.

Heineken promotes stylish home-draft system.

Hyundai recalls 27,500 Genesis sedans for brake issue.

Mercedes-Benz plans station-wagon version of CLA.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Fisher-Price Under Fire for Making False Claims About Educational Apps

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 01:43 PM

After new parents nail down the basics of changing daipers and hourly feedings, most are concerned with building their new bundle of joy's cognitive level. With a more than ample amount of products, including videos, books and apps available to choose from, a parent's investment in education can start pretty early. However, not every product and method out there lives up to its claims, which is where Fisher-Price is finding itself these days. 

The longtime toymaker and others like them have come under fire by advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has said that the companies involved have all produced mobile apps that claim to be able to help kids get smarter—but actually can’t. The Washington Times reports that the group has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the practice.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Adidas, Disney, Old Spice and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on March 11, 2013 08:45 AM

In the News

Adidas aims to outrun Nike with bouncier shoes (Boost), Google ad test and increased soccer focus as Confederation Cup and FIFA World Cup loom, while Nike feels the heat in China.

Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful wins weekend box office, marking a comeback for Disney's studio arm.

Old Spice introduces wolfish marketing director to boost men's animal magnetism.

America's Brand USA global marketing arm expands reach with $200M boost and German campaign.

Apple CEO Tim Cook may testify in e-book antitrust suit.

Beam looks past corruption scandal with new brand strategy in India.

Bumblebee and Chicken of the Sea expand U.S. tuna recall.Continue reading...

games people play

Toy Fair: 'Breaking Bad' Action Figures, a 'Julius' Spinoff, New Crayons and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2013 05:13 PM

The 110th American International Toy Fair has kicked off in New York, which means that it is time for toy freaks to opine on everything from Superman’s underwear to the merits of creating toys based on "Breaking Bad" — a TV show about a dying chemistry teacher who turns to cooking up methamphetamines in a desperate cash-raising scheme for his family.

Warm and cuddly? Not exactly. But the fair has that elsewhere in droves, including a new line of Fisher-Price plush toys (and other items) relating to the launch of Saban's forthcoming "Julius Jr." show for preschoolers on Nickolodeon's sister network, Nick Jr. — a spinoff of Paul Frank's omnipresent monkey character. ("Julius Jr. is a funky monkey with a penchant for invention," according to a press release.)

Saban, which also owns the Power Rangers brand, is also debuting a bevvy of new action figures, plush toys, board games, consumer electronics and more as the Rangers celebrate their 20th anniversary. The brand has a new show on Nickelodeon as well — "Power Rangers Megaforce" — which has some new products attached to it.Continue reading...

brand revival

Parents Hope Mattel Doesn't Go Off-Track With Thomas the Tank Engine

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 2, 2013 11:11 AM

Thomas the Tank Engine has been steaming along on the fictional island of Sodor since 1945, but he is finally catching up to the times. Still, the news that Mattel is ready to revamp the little British engine that could for new markets has some parents of Thomas-obsessed kids worried.

Thomas started out as the creation of British clergyman Rev. Wilbert Audry, whose goal was to come up with a story to entertain his measles-ridden son. Today, Thomas is a global kids powerhosue brand, from toys and licensed goods that expand on his popular TV series.

The Thomas brand brings in about $1 billion in retail sales annually and was a big part of the reason Mattel shelled out $680 million last year for the engine’s former owner, HIT Entertainment, which also parted ways with such beloved kid characters as Barney, Angelina Ballerina, and Bob the Builder as part of the deal.

Finally, Mattel is ready to boost the Thomas brand.Continue reading...

mobile commerce

Santa Goes Mobile: Walmart and Mattel Test Virtual Toy Store in Canada

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 5, 2012 07:31 PM

Tesco made headlines a year ago when its HomePlus retail subsidiary in South Korea tested a virtual store in a Seoul subway station, showcasing items that could be scanned and ordered by smartphone for home delivery, while Peapod is testing virtual grocery shopping in the U.S.

Now Walmart is testing a similar idea in Toronto in partnership with Mattel. The retail and toy giants are teaming up on what's described as Canada's first pop-up virtual toy store, enabling QR code-based shopping of Mattel brands — including hot toys from Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends brands — to holiday shoppers.

The pop-up is located in the city's massive PATH underground walkway, a retail concouse that connects downtown buildings and and an array of businesses to Toronto's Union Station rail commuter hub. It may find a ready pool of virtual shoppers, as it will run for four weeks in the same location where Wells.ca tested a QR-enabled store in April.Continue reading...

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