Guest Note

A sign that the childhood of 30 years ago is gone came just last month, when Mattel publicly called out moms as being behind stagnant Hot Wheels sales.

Between Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Tyco R/C products, Mattel brings in more than $1 billion per year in sales, a number that the brand said has been steady over the last three years. However, when it comes to the question of why sales are not increasing, Mattel blames moms.

The company has identified moms as being the household toy purchaser, and hypothesizes that because moms do not know how to play with Hot Wheels cars with their children – specifically sons – they therefore do not buy them. To remedy this, Mattel very helpfully hosted a brunch – complete with bloody marys and mimosas – for influential mommy bloggers in Manhattan, to teach them how to play with the toys.

Mattel though is not looking at the larger picture when it comes to sales. While Manhattan’s mommy bloggers may be able to provide liquored-up tips on their websites, Mattel should look at its own Hot Wheels site to see how children are being pulled into the brand. The site has games, videos, team Hot Wheels and links for its cars, all before finally coming to a link for toys that doesn’t even have an option for purchasing.

There is also a website, powered by Mattel, for Hot Wheels collectors. The collectors – who are likely not moms – have their own website to get updates on new products, shop and discuss their findings on message boards. The collectors now are the ones who were probably introduced to the brand 30 years ago, before the days of websites and apps.

Children now are bombarded with colors and sounds right at their fingertips, in the form of iPhone, iPad and android apps. Parents are able to hand their device over to their child to provide hours of free downloaded entertainment, instead of purchasing a 97-cent Hot Wheels car that they will likely step on at some point, and the $50 track to go with it, which, according to reviews, is easily breakable.

Additionally, children are now being introduced to universal pre-kindergarten classes more than ever before. New York state in particular is placing emphasis on UPK as Gov. Andrew Cuomo during this year’s State of the State address recommended moving to full-day classes. With an additional focus on education, unless Hot Wheels can make a push to show that their product promotes learning, it would seem that it is especially out of luck in our state.

The bottom line is, instead of blaming the moms, perhaps Mattel should wake up and see that times are changing.