Mattel Inc global leader in manufacturing toys and family products


Mattel Inc. is the planetary leader in fabricating playthings and household merchandises. The popular trade names which it manufactures are Barbie, Hot Wheels, American Girl and Matchbox. It besides sells popular trade names such as Small People and Power Wheels through its subordinate company Fisher-Price. There are about 31,000 employees working for Mattel in 43 different states and the company sells its merchandises in over 150 states. Its central office is situated in El Segundo, California. ( Mattel, 2011 )

Even though the company has generated immense net incomes, the route trip has non been easy. Merchandise callbacks have affected the company badly. There have been more than 28 instances of merchandise callbacks in the company ‘s history ( Shekhar, 2009 ) . And the focal point of these callbacks were the twelvemonth 2007 which deemed to be black for Mattel. It was the summer of 2007 when over 21 million playthings from over 43 international markets were declared insecure. Hence the company had to remember those merchandises maintaining in head the safety of kids and besides their trade name image. ( Slideshare, 2010 )

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This raised inquiry about the criterions of Mattel merchandises because 65 % of its playthings are produced in China. The determination to outsource its bulk of operations to China was to a great extent criticised because since 2006, a sum of 177 callbacks were those that were manufactured in China. Mattel had a sum of five callbacks in 2007 including its Fisher-Price merchandise. ( Docstoc, 2010 ) The recalling process lasted from the beginning of August till September of 2007. For Mattel, this proved to be the biggest callback boulder clay day of the month. There were two grounds. The first ground was due to presence of defective magnets in its merchandises. Mattel received studies of defective magnets in its plaything and it had to take speedy actions against it because those magnets could easy go loose and if kids were to get down them it would be risky to their tummy. Affected merchandises were Barbie and her Canis familiaris Tanner, Batman action figure and Polly Pockets. The 2nd ground for merchandise callback was due to presence of lead-based pigment on several playthings. Mattel had given instructions to manufacturers in China to utilize pigments from eight different providers but it was found out that the industries contacted unapproved providers. The sum of lead found in those playthings was over the bound ( 180 times the legal bound ) . It could present a serious wellness issues for kids and in terrible instances even decease. Most of the merchandises in the Fisher Price line were recalled due to the presence of lead-based pigment in their merchandises. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )

Recently, China has had to confront its ain jobs sing the merchandise criterion and quality which it produces in the boundaries of its state. The history says that Mattel and China have a 25 twelvemonth old partnership. Before this incident, other companies were inquiring how to accomplish the Chinese criterions. Wordss of unfavorable judgment have surrounded Mattel for holding excessively much religion with the Chinese makers and besides because of Mattel ‘s deficient quality control trial at the fabrication premises. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )

Factories which produced the controversial merchandises were directed to halt their operations temporarily. After the probe of different merchandises it was found that bulk of the merchandises did non follow with the safety criterions. Chinese governments revoked the export licence of two of the mills related to the callbacks – Hansheng Wooden Products Factory and Lida Toy Company. After four yearss, the foreman of the Lida Toy Company was found dead in the mill workshop. The studies indicated that he hung himself in the mill. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )

The U.S. Senate Committee began audience for making and implementing suited statute law that would maintain risky playthings off from kids. Even though immense sum of playthings were recalled due to defective magnets in compared to lead-based pigment, the planetary media to a great extent criticised and put the incrimination on China. In reply, Chinese media concluded that Mattel should take duty and answerability for the incident and non set the incrimination on China. Mattel had no other manner out but to take full duty of the error and it apologised to China sing the callback. Mattel concluded that it was non the Chinese who had the defect in their fabrication procedure but it was a Mattel design defect and it took ownership of the magnetic design defect. There was nil mentioned about the pigment. The important consequence was seen on Mattel ‘s stock monetary value which reduced by 25 per centum from its year-to-date high. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )

This incident raises issues about Business Continuity and how Mattel handles the crisis. In a crisis state of affairs, the chief focal point will be on managing the crisis, lasting the crisis and continuity of operations. Mattel ‘s reaction and response to the crisis will find future corporate civilization and crisis communicating. Mattel has disputing issues of equilibrating consumer trust and corporate societal duty ( CSR ) in the visible radiation of geting hazardous but profitable chances through outsourcing. Safety is the top most importance to Mattel, since the playthings are manufactured for kids and they are a vulnerable group. ( Anon, 2009 )

Mattel ‘s aims in this scenario

Conveying message about the hard state of affairs to the populace with efficiency, preciseness and truth. Being crystalline about every individual measure taken and future activities.

Assure consumers and other stakeholders of committedness in repairing the job, bring forthing playthings harmonizing to criterions and being honest and unfastened.

Take full duty and answerability for the callback. Solve the job while maintaining a good relationship with China. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )


Mattel contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( CPSC ) shortly after it realised it was confronting a serious job. Mattel so called its BCCM squad and started measuring programs and possible stairss to be taken. They assumed that the state of affairs could be under their control since the merchandise defect and trouble was with their provider. Soon after the CPSC announced Mattel ‘s first callback, 16 PR forces were instantly assigned to name newsmans. They forwarded electronic mails about the callback imperativeness release. Reporters were notified about a teleconferencing with executives and gave entree to the media to set up Television interviews or telephone questions with the top forces at the company. On the twenty-four hours of the proclamation, the CEO of Mattel, Robert Eckert, appeared on 14 Television interviews and besides entertained 20 calls from newsmans. By the terminal of the hebdomad, 300 media petitions were answered by Mattel. The company had full-page advertizements in the newspapers. Besides, updates have been on a regular basis posted on Mattel ‘s web site about the crisis response. Search engine selling was besides used. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )

A case and few studies claim that Mattel had received information about the faulty merchandises manner before denoting it to the populace. But after proclamation of the merchandise callback, Mattel has ever been crystalline to the populace. Mattel has promised to work out the crisis scenario on the fabrication degree. They besides claim that they have ever maintained high criterions and safety steps. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )

Identifying Stakeholder Issues

It can be clearly seen that Mattel put its clients before everyone else as the clients are the 1s that would hold a direct consequence by buying those defective playthings. Customers drive the concern towards success or failure. The accredited companies and stockholders were placed before the employees since the chief affected employees by this incident are situated in China.

Customers: Mattel benefits straight from its clients. Customers have been and will ever be the chief force for its endurance and growing. Therefore the trade name image to a great extent depends upon the safety and duty. In this instance the merchandises are designed particularly for kids and because of their age they are vulnerable to little magnets or lead tainted playthings. Any injury caused to this group will ensue in market portion loss. Besides Mattel needs to be careful about its corporate clients such as Walmart and Toys “ R ” Us, who place Mattel ‘s merchandise in their shelves. If the corporate clients smell disgusting drama and if they refuse to sell Mattel ‘s merchandise, so there will be no channel left for gross revenues and distribution. ( Anon, 2009 )

Licensed Companies: It has taken a batch of old ages for Mattel to construct relationships with trade name names like Disney, Harry Potter, Nickelodeon and Sesame Street. These trade name names have been successful in garnering net income in partnership with Mattel. If crisis state of affairss like this bend out unfavorable, Mattel will lose profitable chances with its spouses. If one spouse loses religion in Mattel, so the influence automatically falls upon the remainder of the spouses. ( Anon, 2009 )

Employees: Employees are a valuable plus for Mattel. So, it is necessary to hold uninterrupted support and cooperation from its employees to go on supplying quality, criterions, gross revenues, repute and net income. Including employee in determination devising, execution, civilization and communicating motivates and engages them. ( Anon, 2009 )

Stockholders: Previous merchandise callbacks and its impact makes it important for Mattel to hold an effectual communicating with its stockholders. Stockholders should be convinced that in the past and in the approaching hereafter Mattel has and will ever be crystalline with each and every spot of information.

Competition: China is responsible for the 80 % plaything gross revenues in the U.S.A every bit good as the 65 % of Mattel playthings. In vacations, clients are loath to purchase “ made in China ” label since the merchandise callback has had a negative impacts on clients. Therefore, Mattel should play a critical function in bettering the repute of the full industry by working with its rivals. It should besides put itself in the market as a company who outsources relatively less than their competition. ( Anon, 2009 )

Chinese Government: When Mattel apologised to the Chinese, it sparked immense unfavorable judgments and contention. It was surrounded by heavy unfavorable judgments by some in Congress. Since China gives 65 % plaything to Mattel, it has further investable chances in the state. It should be able to keep good relationships with China every bit good as their duty to corporate societal duty. Therefore, Mattel must somehow decide a manner by which it can go on its operation by outsourcing to China aboard heightening trust in their merchandise with consumers. ( Anon, 2009 )

U.S. Government: Chinese imports have been placed under increased examination by the Congress. The Congress is playing a immense function in modulating Chinese imports which have been questioned in footings of quality and criterions. To implement these issues, the Congress is patronizing the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( CPSC ) . CPSC and Mattel have disagreed in the yesteryear on merchandise ordinances. Since, Mattel is apt to describe to the CPSC within 24 hours of an initial crisis state of affairs, their crisis communications squad have to be able to explicate a program rapidly and expeditiously. ( Anon, 2009 )

Media: Mattel used all possible agencies of communicating to advise both the media and consumers about the on-going events and activities. It was crystalline in conveying messages and besides allowing others entree up to day of the month information. The manner Mattel handled the instance has put an feeling on the media. Besides, the company admits that the faulty merchandises should ne’er hold been put on show. ( Anon, 2009 )

Mattel has been able to convey a positive message to its stakeholders. It has been transparent in its attack informing everyone about its current activities and future duties. The company has maintained a page in its web site explaining inside informations about merchandise callbacks. From past experiences and maintaining in head the present context, Mattel will do certain that the industries operate in conformity with the company ‘s consent. Certified providers will provide pigment to the maker and every individual batch of pigment will be tested. It wo n’t be used, if it does non run into the criterions. Frequent reviews will be made at all seller installations and control and monitoring will be increased on every unit of the production procedure. The merchandises will be tested and assured to safety criterions before making the market. ( Public Relations Problems and Cases, 2010 )


Regain trust of planetary client and besides stockholders.

Rebuild trade name image and repute as a socially responsible company.

Continue to be unfastened and honest to the populace.

Learn from past lessons to better quality criterions in foreign fabrication sites.

Maintain good relation with China and other providers.

Perform random visit and batch testing at fabrication sites.

Work in conformity with U.S. authorities, foreign authoritiess and CSPC to better quality of kids ‘s merchandises worldwide.

Promote 360 degree feedback.

Plan and implement more effectual schemes for possible hereafter crisis scenarios.

Enroll the best employees into the BCCM squad from within the administration. ( Anon, 2009 )


In an overall context, I personally think Mattel had the state of affairs in control right from the clip when the proclamation was made about the merchandise callback. The crisis direction squad were competent plenty to turn to the state of affairs and act rapidly and efficaciously. The company had faced similar sort of state of affairs in the yesteryear. That is why they were prepared for this sort of scenario. It can be seen as a lesson for Mattel every bit good as for other companies.

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