Mattel, Inc. is the largest toy company in the world. This company designs, to manufacture, markets, and distributes a large amount of different toy products to over 150 countries worldwide.
From Picture Frames to Mattel Toys (1945-49)
The founders of Mattel, Inc were Elliot and Ruth Handler 1945, where they lived during a fast changing postwar time. Handler started with designing light fixtures and soon started making furniture, which they sold out of their garage. They extended their product into making giftware and costume jewelry, and this soon became a $2 million enterprise. To remain competitive, Elliot wanted to change his direction into a new business approach. Ruth Handler decided to hook up with her old friend, Harold “Matt” Matson, and they together started Mattel Creations, with Elliot as the designer for the products. Mattel, the name, came from mixing Matson’s last name with Elliot’s first name. Matson soon became ill, and had to leave the company.
With the scrap left over from making picture frames, Elliot started on his first dollhouse furniture. Some of their first toys were the “birdy bank”, and the “make-believe makeup set” and these products helped the Handlers break even with their expenses and costs. The first hit product in the toy industry was the “Uke-A-Doodle, a miniature plastic ukelele, and soon to follow was the plastic piano with raised black keys.
There were some lessons that the Handlers had learned in the toy industry in the beginning, and that was that child participation was very important for any quality toy and that children should be able to interact with a toy and want to play with it for long periods of time. Also, they had learned that a toy with lasting appeal stood for a basis for successful toys to follow and faddish products couldn’t even compare to well made children’s toys.
Toy Innovation, Diversification, & Success (1950-69)
One of the biggest breakthroughs for Mattel, Inc. is when the company agreed to sponsor a 15-minute segment of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, a show that is aired on ABC television network. This expense for advertising usually only occurred for other toy manufacturers during holiday season, but Mattel wanted to do something different. They marketed their toys year round on the hottest children show, and reached thousands of children around the country. The popular slogan for Mattel at that time was “You can tell it’s Mattel, it’s swell,” and with this catchy slogan, Mattel began a marketing revolution in the toy industry, and it immediately covered the advertising expense plus much more. This helped the company’s brand name become well known to the show’s audience and one of the best business decisions the company ever made! Television became a focus with Mattel’s new direction. Mattel started making replicas of classic western guns and holsters from popular western hit television shows.
In 1959, Mattel made toy industry history by introducing the “Barbie Doll”,...