Dear Mattel: You’re to Blame for Poor Hot Wheels Sales

Hello, Mattel. I’d ask how you are doing, but from a Businessweek report, it looks like you’re feeling pretty sad, wishing that toy car sales were up, and lashing out at moms as the reason for your woes. Before you throw a tantrum, I want you to know the reason your sales are lagging behind expectations: your product sucks.

I love Hot Wheels. I have fond memories of playing with them as a child, despite the fact that I am a girl, and a girl without brothers to help me “get” toy car play.  My son has some Hot Wheels that I purchased for him because I love that the cars are easily mobile toys that can be put in a pocket and pulled out when bored. But that is where our car toy spending ends because your tracks are more frustrating then fun.

When my son moved beyond the stage of putting toys in his mouth, we bought him a Hot Wheels track for Christmas. We assembled it, but it wouldn’t hold its shape, falling apart before a car set on it, again and again. Finally, we got it together, but it wasn’t built to successfully race the car. I remember as a child, cars shooting off due to high speed – which was part of the fun – or occasionally getting jammed, but that was solved with a little tinkering. This took tinkering at every curve, and even holding the tracks together with our hands while our son tried to get the car to go around. When you tinker with Legos – which are probably the toys replacing your product under Christmas trees and in birthday gifts – it’s about being creative and building something new, but when it came to tinkering with our track, it was frustrating and felt like a failure, because despite putting it together according to directions, it didn’t work, and there is nothing fun about that.

During the last holiday season, I wanted to give it another shot. I felt my son was missing out on something fun from my childhood. I researched the best track system and the unanimous answer was made by a company that wasn’t Mattel. In the end, we didn’t buy it because my son is happy playing freestyle with his cars, racing them around our kitchen island, pretending to take them on death-defying jumps, or bringing them to pass the time at his sister’s softball practice. Yet, buying a $2 car once or twice a year doesn’t contribute to rocket-high sales, does it?  But, Mattel, that isn’t my fault. Make a product kids demand, and it doesn’t matter if moms “get” them or not, it will sell. I don’t see any appeal in Beyblades, but my son sure owns a lot of them. Do you “get” that?

I hope that helps!

a mom (your purchasing target)

Photo by Stefan-Xp

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