Exclusive: Looking through a different lens at Mattel

Published on: 15th January 2021

Following a strong 2020, Michael Hick, UK vice president & country manager, and Kelly Philp, UK marketing director, told Toy World how Mattel will be taking things forward for 2021.

Michael Hick and Kelly Philp

“Hopefully that was a year we won’t have to repeat in our careers,” says Michael at the start of our interview. “’We really did see the highs, the lows and everything in between in 2020. Existing trends such as online shopping, rising VOD consumption and the changing role of the high-street fast-forwarded five years in just five months. For us as a commercial team, it was fascinating to see just how quickly Mattel could transition and adapt to ever-changing shopper, consumer and retailer demands.”

Despite the turbulence of last year, Mattel’s performance was hugely impressive, and the team is both pleased and proud about the position the company is in.

Michael and Kelly shared the performance of different areras of the Mattel portfolio, and spoke candidly about how the company works with its retailers and the importance of collaborative planning and partnership. Mattel’s retail partners are hailed as the ‘picture frame’ to what the company ‘paints’. “If we get that bit wrong, no one sees our products,” says Michael.

We heard about the digital capabilities that Mattel has been building for several years, with huge investment in this area coming into its own in the time of Covid, and how Mattel’s innovative ‘push-to-pull’ ethos represents a significant shift in the mindset of the company.

Mattel is heading into 2021 with an increased investment in its brands and is being strategic in where it places it, as Michael explains: “Mattel has classic brands that it has been producing for years, but they continue to perform unbelievably well because of their relevancy with consumers. We have historical insights and knowledge on what we can carry through to the following year if necessary, while dialling our marketing up or down accordingly.”

Kelly told us about the new offerings within Mattel’s heritage brands, as well as the launch of brand new property Cave Club. “As we did with Monster High all those years ago, introducing a slight tilt and point of difference to what others are putting into the market is really important to the team,” she told us.

Mattel is now looking ahead and feeling positive about the future and its brands, with plenty more newness on the way and the 50th anniversary of Uno to celebrate.

“You’ve got to have a plan A, B, and probably even C in the current climate,” comments Michael. “We’ve all learned new ways of working and doing business, and of living and interacting with each other. For Mattel, and for me personally, 2020 was all about looking at things through a different lens.”

To read the full article, which appeared in the January edition of Toy World, click here.


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