Mattel Launches Creative Review

Mattel has be gun a review for the creative portions of three pieces of its advertising account, the client confirmed last week.

Included in the review are ad duties for Mattel’s boys and entertainment division (Hot Wheels, Matchbox, games and puzzles, male action figures and licensed entertainment properties); infant and pre school licensed entertainment properties, including Disney and Sesame Street; and various global assignments.

Combined billings for the assignments in review are estimated to be at least $50 million, sources said.

Foote, Cone & Belding handles boys and entertainment, and infant and preschool products out of its Chicago and El Segundo, Calif., offices. Ogilvy & Mather, Culver City, Calif., is the incumbent on the international work in review. Ogilvy also handles Barbie.

Only roster shops and boutiques that have worked with Mattel will be invited to participate, said cli ent representative Lisa Marie Bon gio van ni.

In addition to FCB and Ogilvy, Young & Rubicam handles older girls’ brands like Diva Starz and Generation Girl out of its Irvine, Calif., office and Fisher-Price out of New York. Those pieces of business are not in review.

Peterson Milla Hooks in Minne apolis and Cole & Weber/Red Cell in Seattle also have worked with the client on assignments for Barbie in the past. Both agencies said they have not been contacted by Mattel.

Media, which is handled by WPP Group sister shops Mediaedge:cia and MindShare, is not involved.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based cli ent, the world’s largest toymaker, spent $185 million in measured media last year, according to CMR.

The roster agencies declined comment.

Sales for the boys and entertainment division rose 7 percent in the first quarter of this year, over the comparable period last year, to $210 million; sales for the infant and preschool division fell 7 percent to $226 million.

“For the past two years, since [CEO] Bob Eckert came to the company [from Kraft Foods], we’ve been looking to optimize our business and maximize efficiencies,” said Bongiovanni. The review does not signal dissatisfaction with Mattel agencies, she said.

Agency briefings will take place in early June, sources said. A decision is expected by the end of summer.