MGA Entertainment’s CEO and Founder Isaac Larian caught up with the Toy Book about how the company has been helping consumers during the pandemic, sustainability efforts, and more.
The Toy Book: How did MGA Entertainment respond to the early challenges presented by the pandemic, both internally and for consumers?
Isaac Larian: When the pandemic started in China, we immediately sent over personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. When we saw the impact of the pandemic on the U.S., we immediately went into action. We set up a nonprofit, MGAE Cares, and the sole purpose was to identify frontline workers who needed PPE and to send it to them for free. Our L.O.L. Surprise! brand donated $5 million from sales to get MGAE Cares started. Also, with the help of our Little Tikes engineers and product development team, we created the Lev Love System — masks designed to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The Lev Love Ventilator Mask was created as an interim first step before a patient requires intubation, assisting patients with their own breathing. To date, MGAE Cares has donated more than 750,000 [pieces of] PPE to more than 350 hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world.
The safety, health, and happiness of our consumers was also a focus for us. Despite closures, the team created engaging content such as 3D shows, music videos, virtual camps, dance parties, and more. For fans impacted by the pandemic this past holiday season, MGAE Cares expanded its support and created the “Surprise and Amaze” program to help bring toys to deserving families during the holidays.
TB: How does MGA Entertainment plan to continue its sustainability efforts in 2021?
IL: Sustainability is a personal priority for me. There is only one Earth, and as parents and grandparents, we must leave our children a brighter, greener planet. MGA Entertainment stands behind this and we are moving very quickly to ensure all products are eco-friendly.
In 2020, we expanded our L.O.L. Surprise! partnership with TerraCycle to nine countries, finishing the year with more than 100,000 pieces of recycled packaging. We also changed our plastic polybags containing accessories and dolls to paper, which can be recycled; and our packaging designs are now part of the doll play experience. In addition, we launched a new Little Tikes Go Green eco-friendly product line made from recycled plastic and packaged in recycled materials to help minimize the impact our toys have on the environment. We will continue to broaden this line throughout 2021 with more news and launches on the horizon. We are also rolling out plastic-free packaging in our Zapf products, including the removal of cable ties and plastic bags, and will instead create a unique, closed box design that gives fans a glimpse of the actual doll inside. The new package design will debut this year with all new Zapf products and we will aim to update the entire Zapf range by 2022.
This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read more!