Mattel’s Fourth Annual 12 Days of Play Program Impacts More Than 100,000 Children

MattelChildrenFoundationMattel has started its fourth annual global Mattel 12 Days of Play program, a series of holiday-themed philanthropic events that will give the gift of play to more than 100,000 children in more than 30 countries. Mattel 12 Days of Play brings Mattel employees together to impact the lives of children at underserved schools, hospitals, food banks, orphanages, and other community organizations around the world with a variety of play, toys, and fun activities.

In the Los Angeles area alone, more than 2,000 volunteers are joining children at inner-city elementary schools and the Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. Working with its signature partner Playworks, as well as LA’s Best and other local organizations, Mattel will create a total of eight Winter Wonderlands. The play areas have approximately 400 tons of snow combined, where an estimate of 5,000 kids ages 6 to 11 can play.

These events feature real falling snow and activities such as sledding, ice skating, racing Hot Wheels cars down a 40-foot track, photo opportunities with real-life Barbie, a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and plenty of toys. On December 5, Mattel’s global headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. was covered in more than 100 tons of snow and real flakes fell from the sky. Kids were also able to sled down three tracks and drive Power Wheels through an obstacle course. [Read more...]

Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]

Walmart Matches Competitors’ Black Friday Deals One Week Early

logo-walmartHoliday shoppers don’t have to wait until Black Friday to start shopping for deals at Walmart. At of 8 a.m. on November 22, Walmart has started a pre-Black Friday savings event in stores and online, lowering the prices on popular toys and electronics, to match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys “R” Us, and Best Buy one week early.

The retailer also extends its Christmas Ad Match to walmart.com customers. Customers who purchase an item on walmart.com, and find a lower price in a local competitor, can email christmasadmatch@walmart.com and receive the difference on a gift card. The same policy is in place for customers at Walmart stores for items purchased November 1 through December 24, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

Examples of toys and electronics that are part of Walmart’s pre-Black Friday saving event, while supplies last, include LeapPad 2, Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, Nerf Rebelle Crossbow, Monopoly Board Game, Hot Wheels Single Car, Skylanders and Disney Infinity Starter Packs, and select PS4 and Xbox One video games such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, NBA 2K14 and Battlefield 4. [Read more...]

Mattel Launches First Multi-Brand Hispanic Integrated Campaign

logo_Mattel logoIn preparation for the holidays, Mattel Inc. has launched its first ever Spanish-language multi-brand marketing campaign, toy feliz. Already live in Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami, this Hispanic-oriented effort spans multi-media marketing platforms and key brands, including Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, and Barbie.

The campaign includes TV and radio advertising on Univision, a retail partnership with Walmart, a bilingual website, geo-targeted coupons, and printed advertising inserts in participating markets. Mattel has even partnered with Padres Contra El Cáncer to help in the non-profit’s mission to provide emotional and financial support, as well as bilingual health education, to children with cancer and their families. As part of the partnership, Mattel is sponsoring Padres’ annual holiday parties, which provide families who have a child undergoing treatment with the opportunity to enjoy the holidays in a fun-filled and safe environment. Mattel will also make donations to Padres families at local Los Angeles and Miami hospitals.

Mattel Launches Playground Productions Creative Storytelling Division

Mattel.PlaygroundMattel Inc. has announced the formation of Playground Productions, a new division within the Mattel Global Brands group dedicated to the creation and development of strategic multiplatform storytelling. Playground Productions will drive creative storytelling across all Mattel brands, including Barbie, Monster High, and Max Steel, along with the development and launch of the new animation Team Hot Wheels: The Origin of Awesome debuting next year.

Playground Productions has brought on Mercury Filmworks for the project in a story that delivers new Hot Wheels thrills in three formats including a 22-minute origin story for spring, 11 humorous two-minute action-packed shorts for the summer, and a 74-minute direct-to-video movie for the fall.

Additionally, Playground Productions will manage and provide creative direction for the recently announced live-action feature film for Max Steel. In co-development with Dolphin Films, the movie will have a wide release in theaters next year. The division is also partnering with Columbia Pictures on an upcoming Masters of the Universe theatrical project.

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Mattel Partner for Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver

hot-wheelsWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has partnered with Mattel Inc. for the global distribution, sales, and trade marketing of the upcoming Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver video game launching on September 17 in North America for Xbox 360, PlayStation3, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.

In Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver, players join the ranks of Team Hot Wheels and compete in dozens of fast-paced, replayable challenges highlighting the driving styles of the different teams. Featuring 24 Hot Wheels vehicles and set in four under-the-radar test facilities around the world, the game pushes players to their limits to see if they have what it takes to become Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver.

Mattel is also bringing the Hot Wheels brand to life with a real-life crew of stunt drivers taking stunt-driving to the next level with never-before-seen, gravity-defying stunts in life-size Hot Wheels cars. This year, Mattel continues to introduce new Hot Wheels content, including a 22-minute World’s Best Driver movie on the Hot Wheels YouTube channel and HotWheels.com.

Hot Wheels: World’s Best Driver is being developed by Firebrand Games.

COMMENTARY: Girls and Boys Just Wanna Have Fun!

My poor brother grew up in a family full of nothing-but-girls. I’m convinced that this is the reason that he ended up with all of the cool toys. In true oldest sibling fashion, I wasn’t stopped by the sharpie-engraved “Jesse” label on the toys that cluttered his bedroom. I had to test every toy that came through our house, girl- or boy-intended; it made no difference to me. It wasn’t lost on me that all of Jesse’s toys were made to go fast or flaunt tricks, while my sister and I played with stationary toys, dolls, and Easy-Bake Ovens. The phrase that frequently exited my adolescent mouth comes to mind: “But it’s not fair!” The speedy and daring toys are just as fun for girls as they are for boys, and here are some current toys to prove it:6474_300_300

The Hot Wheels cars frequented our home quite often, and many Christmas lists as well. Any time we went to the mall, somehow Jesse managed to make sure he was leaving with one. Mattel‘s well-loved brand that is synonymous with speed just released its Triple Track Twister. With three tracks, two controllers and one huge crash zone, it is multi-car mayhem. Kids can hit the red diverter to send cars on a collision course, or blast through the blue tunnel to take on a new track. The coolest thing about this toy is that it includes an iPad stand and Action Capture app that brings the track to life. My brother and I would have loved this Hot Wheels racetrack with equal measure.

BF40F27550569047F5155E7CBCF0B0D4Another name that has been helping little boys and girls create speed and wreak havoc in good fun is Nerf, from Hasbro. The Nerf Rapidstrike CS-18 is the new streamlined lightweight blaster that has serious firepower and shoots up to 75 feet. The blaster’s acceleration trigger powers up the motor for super-speed firing. The clip holds all 18 of the included darts, and it’s see-through for instant firepower checks.

For more commentary from Kara, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!

Feld Entertainment and Mattel Extend Monster Jam Licensing Program

MonsterJamFeld Entertainment and Mattel Inc. announced the five year  extension of their long-standing global licensing agreement between Monster Jam and Hot Wheels. The renewal agreement extends Mattel’s exclusive, worldwide licensing rights to Monster Jam replica die-cast, plastic, feature vehicles, accessories, and play sets through 2018.

Monster Jam, the largest touring monster truck property in the world, entertains more than four million fans from four continents and 10 countries with more than 350 action-packed performances each year. Additionally, Monster Jam performances are broadcasted globally with television distribution in more than 175 countries.

Monster Jam has secured a robust toy presence at retail and continues to obtain incremental promotional programs annually at mass and specialty retailers including Walmart, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, and Target. The core Hot Wheels Monster Jam business includes the popular 1:64 and 1:24 scale authentic die-cast vehicles, 1:43 scale motorized plastic Rev Tredz vehicles, and a growing line of Monster Jam-themed, TV-advertised play sets. [Read more...]

Hot Wheels Sets a First-Ever World Record at Indy 500

hotwheels_2On the eve of the Indianapolis 500, Hot Wheels, along with four kids, set a record for the world’s longest toy race track. Staged on the front straightaway of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mattel’s Hot Wheels created a 1 mile-long, four-lane toy racetrack to celebrate its World’s Best Driver Championship event. Kids were invited from all over the country to race four toy cars around the track. Coached by racing legends Mario and John Andretti, Christopher Bienusa, a 12-year-old from Alexandria, Minn., emerged as the victor. Bienusa celebrated in traditional Indy 500 fashion by drinking a bottle of milk and kissing the fabled Yard of Bricks on the speedway. More than 1,000 pieces of custom-made Hot Wheels track were used to build the longest toy track in history. Alexandria Industries manufactured the nearly 4,700 pounds of aluminum extrusions to withstand outdoor elements such as heat and rain.

Mattel’s Hot Wheels to Attempt World Record at Indy 500

hotwheelsThe Hot Wheels team is headed to the Indianapolis 500 speedway this weekend to build the longest toy track set in history. On May 25, the day before the race, four kids will speed toy Hot Wheels cars through a 1-mile, four-lane oval racetrack in an attempt to set a new world record.

Mattel is calling it the “World’s Best Driver Championship,” and kids can recreate the race with track set pieces exclusively from Toys “R” Us. The entire Indy 500 track will be constructed with 1,494 pieces of Hot Wheels track custom-made from 4,700 pounds of aluminum. A total of 46 people will install the track, which will be coated with powder to increase vehicle speed.

For more information, or to recreate the experience, visit www.buildyourtrack.com.