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Mattel's Strategy to Win Millennial Parents Decoded

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Mattel's Strategy to Win Millennial Parents Decoded

Mattel is banking on millennial parents and their parenting philosophy to make inroads in the toys market in India. Mattel has introduced its global campaign for Barbie Imagine the Possibilities to the Indian market, positioning Barbie as not just a toy that children use for entertainment but also a tool for learning or Play with Purpose.

“Barbie has been reshaping its narrative for the last couple of years, and we felt this was the right time to introduce the campaign in India because we want to make millennial parents aware that playing with dolls can fire up imaginations of young girls about their future career possibilities, be that of a professor, football coach or veterinarian,” said Lokesh Kataria, Head of Marketing, Mattel India (Pvt) Ltd. He said that all of Mattel’s energies and efforts will be towards educating parents about the power of play.

Kataria says that with parents making informed choices for their children “toys that have a clear benefit in terms of education and play value will contribute significantly to Mattel’s revenue.” He added, “Barbie lies in that space, Fisher Price gives the best possible start in the newborn and infant category and Hot Wheels has just started the Hot Wheels Labs which is a learning initiative with select schools across the country. We think that these initiatives where we engage children with the core messaging of play and parents with the message of learning and development is a winning formula.”

The Challenge with Millennial Parents
Mattel and other toy brands are learning to market to millennial parents who Kataria says are a challenging bunch of customers. “This bunch of customers can find out everything they want to from peers, and parenting blogs. They base their decisions on product reviews on e-commerce sites.” Therefore, you can win millennial parents by being transparent with them, be their friend and help them solve their problems, he said.

Strategy to Help with GST Rates
Positioning toys as learning tools not only helps Mattel with reaching out to a fresh target audience it may potentially help the toys segment escape the wrath of the recently implemented GST regime. The price of toys have gone up across brands in the country due to the implementation of GST. “The approach of the authorities deciding on the matter see toys as a luxury category or discretionary spending. And that’s where our communication comes in, that this not luxury but an aid for learning.” Kataria hopes that the government realises that toys are an integral part of a child’s learning and development and gives the industry some leeway in terms of the GST rates.

Barbie the Market Leader
Barbie contributes to one-third of Mattel’s revenues and captures 80-85 per cent of the dolls category. “Barbie has been one of our most strong brands in terms of growth and business performance since the time we came to India in 1995,” said Kataria. Mattel has been steadily increasing its market share in India and currently stands at 9.1 per cent.

Speaking about the new wave of competition from startups that offer subscription boxes that double as learning kits and toys, Kataria said, “We welcome such companies. And believe that anything and everything that links toys back to the learning and development curve of a child is not a competitor but trying to help convey our message as well.”

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