Exclusive – Mattel’s Tara McGrath on Toy Story 4

Published on: 16th May 2019

Tara, design director at Mattel, speaks to Toy World about what it’s like to be involved with the Toy Story 4 licensing programme.

Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Toy Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Tara McGrath worked for Pace Development, inventing games, dolls, and pre-school toys for Hasbro, Fisher-Price, Mattel, Parker Brothers and Tyco Toys. Now design director at Mattel, based in California, Tara currently leads all Disney Pixar Brands. We asked Tara what sets Mattel’s Toy Story 4 products apart from other offerings on the market.

“One of Mattel’s biggest strengths is its ability to reach kids across all ages and stages, each with diverse needs and expectations of play,” Tara explains. “Because of this, the Toy Story 4 line Mattel has created is the most comprehensive toy line in decades, offering product for toddlers with Fisher-Price Little People, through to pre-school with Imaginext, and, of course, our action figure line for older kids.”

She continues: “Our team has worked hard to create a new line of figures that encompass a great kid-to-toy scale for 2019. This versatile line-up allows kids to pose and articulate figures in any way, and provides incredible detail and variety; it’s an exciting range that fans of the franchise will really want to get behind. We’ve brought Toy Story 4 into the world of Imaginext with the fun activation points and playful designs which are characteristic of this particular brand. For example, our Duke Caboom Stuntman lets kids recreate the story they’ll see on screen, while adding projectiles and a make-believe ring of fire.”

Tara is particularly keen to highlight Mattel’s new Ultimate Walking Buzz Lightyear (pictured), which marks the first time the company have ever produced a 7” (17 ¾ cm) action figure that actually walks. Buzz comes with various pre-programmed missions, can fire his laser and eject his wings, and boasts fluid, natural movement for an authentic play experience.

“I also love our True to Movie Figures. These feature a high level of articulation, and we’ve created a wide variety of them – there’s an entire world of Toy Story characters for kids to collect.”

To read the full interview, which was published in the 2019 Licensing World supplement, click here.


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