Mattel Assigns More Creative Duties to Y&R

Young & Rubicam has increased its share of Mattel business, adding creative duties on girls’ toys such as Polly Pocket and Disney Princess and the Radica line of computer and videogames, sources said.

The girls’ toys assignment, which also includes Beauty Cuties, Holly Hobbie & Friends and High School Musical figurines, shifted out of fellow roster shop Ogilvy & Mather. It was not immediately clear which agency previously handled Radica, which Mattel acquired in 2007.

Y&R’s office in Irvine, Calif., which already handles creative duties on Mattel games and boys’ toys, will take on the new business, which adds about $30 million in billings, according to sources. Y&R’s New York office handles creative duties on Fisher-Price branded toys.

The shift leaves Ogilvy’s Culver City, Calif., office with a single Mattel assignment: Barbie, said sources. Globally, however, the WPP Group shop serves as the distribution network for Mattel work that runs overseas. It was not immediately clear how the loss would impact Ogilvy’s Culver City office. Ogilvy declined to comment.

WPP’s Y&R referrred calls to the El Segundo, Calif.-based client, which also declined to discuss the shifts, saying, through a representative: “Mattel continues to work with our agency partners and keeps these relationships in force. We don’t discuss particular assignments.”

The shifts occurred after client executives considered both Y&R and Ogilvy for the consolidated assignment, according to sources. Another roster shop, Interpublic Group’s Draftfcb in New York, did not participate in the process.

Draftfcb handles creative duties on some 20 Fisher-Price licensed toys, such as those featuring Sesame Street’s Elmo or Nickelodeon’s Dora. Those duties were unaffected by the shifts.

All told, Mattel — including its Fisher-Price, Radica and American Girl subsidiaries — spent more than $185 million last year and about $30 million in the first half of 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.

Nielsen Business Media