Mattel’s Hot Wheels have a mom problem. Many toy purchases are made by mothers. Moreover mothers often (and more frequently than fathers) supervise their children’s playtime. But many moms don’t understand “car toys” like Hot Wheels. On the other hand, according to Mattel research, moms have a pretty good feel for action figures. I guess that Batman and Buzz Light Year action figures are a lot like the dolls most moms played with when they grew up. Consequently, moms are being blamed for three years of flat sales of Mattel’s big three car toy brands (Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and Tyco R/C). Or, maybe more appropriately, they are blaming themselves for not understanding moms. So Mattel marketing managers are making an effort to change this.
This Bloomberg Businessweek article, “Mattel’s Mom Issue: They Really Don’t Get Hot Wheels” (February 21, 2013) describes this problem in more detail, along with a focus group of mommy bloggers where Mattel executives tried to better understand this problem.
Read the article. Do you agree with Mattel’s diagnosis of the “mom problem”? If you were the brand manager for one of Mattel’s car toy brands, what would you do to jumpstart sales?