Toy maker Mattel new line of princess dolls representing 17 different Disney characters
Mattel, the toymaker known for making Barbie and Hot Wheels cars, is making a comeback with its new line of princess dolls that represent 17 different Disney characters, including Anna and Elsa, Moana and Cinderella.
With the release of the doll brands, Mattel becomes prom queen again, marking something of a turnaround for the company that has experienced financial difficulties and a lack of creative inspiration in recent years.
The company’s CEO, Ynon Kreiz, has implemented a number of corporate reorganizations, among other changes, to breathe new life into the company’s designs and increase market share.
As a result, sales are booming again, with Mattel reporting a rise in net sales and a jump from a $343 million loss in 2017 to a profit of $730 million in 2021.
Toy manufacturer Mattel, best known for making Barbie, has announced a new line of princess dolls representing 17 different Disney characters
The company’s CEO, Ynon Kreiz, has implemented a number of corporate reorganizations, among other changes, to breathe new life into the company’s designs and increase market share
The company’s stock price is hovering around $20, less than half of its 2013 peak, but has been profitable through the first three quarters of 2022.
Mattel’s return to producing and selling Disney princess dolls comes nearly a decade after losing the license to rival company Hasbro.
It lost the franchise after developing its own line of dolls that overlapped with Disney’s characters. The company had a relationship with the House of Mouse for 70 years beginning with The Mickey Mouse Club TV in the 1950s.
The company finally seems to be on the up, as new toy lines are launched along with collaborations with fine art artists.
It’s also expanding the exposure of its toy brands, supported by the creation of films and live events – all in an effort to increase market share and broaden the appeal of its toy catalogue.
Aurora, Ariel, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, Tiana, Snow White, Belle, Jasmine, Merida, Mulan, Moana, Cinderella and Raya are all part of the new line of Mattel/Disney dolls
Kreiz is a former television studio executive who worked briefly at Disney before becoming CEO in 2018.
“You would walk into this building and not think it was a toy company. It felt like an insurance company in the Midwest,” Kreiz told the Wall Street Journal.
After landing the role, Kreiz hired Robbie Brenner, producer of the Oscar-nominated film Dallas Buyers Club, to head up a new film unit.
Now Mattel is helping to produce hit films with links to its toy brands. With 15 feature films at some stage in development, including a Barbie film due out this summer, progress has been rapid.
Mattel continued to venture into monster trucks and racetracks for its Hot Wheels cars, including radio-controlled cars. It was an area of the toy market in which Mattel had previously had little experience or involvement
The return of Disney’s partnership with Mattel comes after the company began to wonder, “Are we making good toys?”
“We have evolved from a toy manufacturer that makes items to an intellectual property company that manages franchises,” explains Kreiz.
“When we lost Disney Princess, they were fixated on the numbers — the culture was spreadsheets and checklists and how to grow by cutting costs,” Ted Wu, design lead for Mattel’s vehicles, told WSJ.
“We didn’t really ask ourselves, ‘Are we making good toys?'”
Mattel continued to venture into monster trucks and racetracks for its Hot Wheels cars, including radio-controlled cars. It was an area of the toy market in which Mattel had previously had little experience or involvement.
But when Disney dropped Mattel, its stock price fell 25 percent and saw three CEOs come and go.
Mattel’s return to producing and selling Disney princess dolls comes nearly a decade after losing the license to rival company Hasbro. The picture shows a girl with the Moana doll
The new dolls are part of a broader effort to revitalize the company’s design mojo. Rapunzel doll is shown here at right
For the new line of Disney princess dolls, Mattel wanted to create the design based on feedback from focus groups based on how children imagine the characters.
To achieve this, designers have used digitally sculpted facial features and hand-painted faces on prototypes based on the characters’ appearances in the films, and new knit fibers for a greater variety of hair types.
Some of Mattel’s new dolls come in packaging that can be cut out and turned into background objects, such as: B. a shell throne from The Little Mermaid, which improves the play scenarios for children.
The return of the Disney Princesses was a major triumph for Mattel. In recent years, the company has hosted “Big Ideas” showcases, where employees can pitch new toy ideas to executives.
The Barbie line’s Color Reveal dolls, which change color when dipped in water, were developed after Mattel employees were able to suggest ideas to executives
The Barbie line’s Color Reveal dolls, which change color when dipped in water, were developed through such a process.
In addition, Chief Operating Officer, Richard Dickson, launched Mattel Creations, which produces higher-priced, limited-edition collector’s versions of toys from various product lines, often in collaboration with artists.
Kreiz closed factories and significantly reduced the workforce from 13,500 to 8,500.
He also reorganized the company’s creative departments, regrouping them into teams designing dolls, vehicles and toys for young children to facilitate the exchange of ideas.
Despite those efforts, the company is still working to match the $6 billion-plus annual revenue it has consistently achieved earlier in the decade.
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