Mattel hands UM global media duties, including Southeast Asia

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Mattel has appointed IPG’s UM to handle global media buying duties including the Southeast Asia leg of its pitch. The markets covered are Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa, expanding on the January 2018 appointment of UM LATAM to manage Mattel’s media planning and buying in Latin America.

Marketing understands that markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines are involved. The pitch was first called in January.

In a statement to Marketing, global CEO UM Daryl Lee said the agency is thrilled to build on its great working relationship with Mattel, and to expand its partnership with the iconic toy and game-maker around the world.

“I am incredibly proud of the work UM LATAM has done over the past two years, and look forward to bringing the same level of better innovation and performance to Mattel’s markets in EMEA and APAC,” he added.

Most recently, Mattel appointed VMLY&R Malaysia to localise social media management, media planning and buying, digital strategy and planning, with the objective of boosting the brand’s overall online presence in Malaysia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, it extended its partnership for the four year running with the digital agency Ydigital Asia for another 12 months. The scope is for digital and covers social media strategy and management, content creation, media planning and buying, as well as seasonal tactical campaigns.

According to Mattel’s first quarter financial results, net sales were down 3% compared to the previous year over the same period. In Asia Pacific, net sales were down 5% at US$64.4 million. By category, worldwide gross sales for action figures/building sets/games were US$150.3 million, up 18%, primarily driven by the initial sales of Toy Story 4 products in advance of its theatrical release as well as Jurassic World. However, other categories all reported a decline. Worldwide gross sales for dolls were down 2% primarily driven by a decline in American Girl, partially offset by growth in Barbie and Polly Pocket. Gross sales for the Barbie brand rose 7%.

Infant/toddler/preschool were down 15%, primarily driven by declines in Fisher-Price and Thomas & Friends, which saw a 8% drop in gross sales. Vehicles were down 3%, driven by a decline in CARS, partially offset by growth in Hot Wheels, which saw gross sales increase by 4%.

In March this year, to boost its sales, the company launched the collection of BTS dolls and while the hype was at its peak before the launch, netizens’ reactions online have not been all that positive – largely around the dolls’ hairstyles.  Last year the company slashed 2,200 jobs, which makes up approximately 22% of its global non-manufacturing workforce. The move came after an impact from the exit of Toys “R” Us, which has impacted the US toy industry as a whole due to the loss in key customers. This saw gross sales being down 11% as reported and in constant currency, reflecting a 10% impact from the Toys “R” Us liquidation.