Late last month MEGA Brands and Mattel shook up the construction toy category with their announcement that the former had securing the rights to create Barbie and Hot Wheels themed construction toys. To find out more, we went right to the source; Marc Bertrand, President and CEO of MEGA Brands. Here is our interview:
Richard: Congratulations on what can only be described as a highly significant licensing agreement with Mattel. Your company, MEGA Brands, will be creating construction sets based upon the Hot Wheels and Barbie licenses. Can you give us any background on how the agreement came to be?
M.B.: We have always been fortunate to work with top-tier partners on our licensed toy lines, and are very proud to continue this with our association with Mattel. As the construction category continues to grow, it’s a natural fit to work with Mattel to bring together their iconic brands with the creative fun and benefits of Mega Bloks.
Richard: What advantages do you feel that these licenses will give MEGA Brands in the construction segment?
M.B.: Barbie and Hot Wheels are world-leading brands for kids, and bringing these powerful properties to life in the construction category is a great extension of the play experience. Mega Bloks Hot Wheels toys will take advantage of the classic boy’s vehicle play pattern delivered in an exciting new way, and the Mega Bloks Barbie line will bring our growing girls construction business to a whole new level.
Richard: Where do you plan to merchandise Barbie construction toys? Will they go in the Girl’s area or will they be merchandised with the rest of the construction toys?
M.B.: Ultimately, it will be up to each retailer to determine the specific merchandising location. We are actively working with different retailers on merchandising strategies in order to maximize the impact of the Mega Bloks Barbie line.
Richard: What marketing and play pattern challenges do you see in getting girls who associate Barbie with dolls and fashion to play with construction sets?
M.B.: The Mega Bloks Barbie™ collection will have a balance between pure building and pretend play. We know girls enjoy the opportunity for creativity, customizing and personalization offered by building sets, and our toys will take advantage of these benefits while still offering a unique and engaging play experience. At its core, the Mega Bloks Barbie experience is all about Barbie and her friends in a buildable world of fashion and dream locations.
Richard: We always like to end with a personal question? Did you play with Barbie or Hot Wheels when you were a kid?
M.B.: Hot Wheels for sure! One of the reasons that our partnership with Mattel is personally exciting is that it really brings us back to our childhood and reminds us of how timeless the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands really are. I have a 9 year old daughter who is a big fan of Barbie; she is already checking out the line and begging to get her hands on one of our sets!