Y&R Wins Big in Mattel’s 3-Way Toy Review

Young & Rubicam’s Irvine, Calif., office was the big winner in last week’s reassignment of about $100 million in Mattel billings, and it begins with a big task: Develop a marketing program for next year’s 35th anniversary of the toy maker’s critical Hot Wheels line of kids’ cars.

The reassignments involved three divisions: boys/entertainment; Fisher-Price character brands; and international. But the $40-50 million boys business was the big prize. “Boys/entertainment went to the agency we felt most strongly represented a very diverse array of brands,” said client rep Lisa Marie Bongiovanni.

Shops were asked to create a worldwide, integrated marketing plan for Hot Wheels’ 35th anniversary and take the brand to what Y&R Cos. president and CEO David Murphy called “megabrand status.”

The boys assignment also involved revitalizing Matchbox and repositioning games like Pictionary, Murphy said. The account had been handled by Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago and El Segundo, Calif. Y&R also handles the $35-40 million Fisher-Price core-brands account and the $15 million older-girls account.

For the international account, shops were asked to suggest a system for “more efficient and effective adaptations around the world,” said a source. Ogilvy & Mather in Culver City, Calif., landed that account. The shop, which already handles the business for Europe, Asia and parts of Latin America, added responsibility in Latin America from McCann-Erickson and J. Walter Thompson. Total international billings are estimated at $70 million. Ogilvy also has the $25 million younger-girls account.

Shops pitching the estimated $10 million Fisher-Price character-brands business were charged with presenting promotional and marketing ideas for Tigger and developing plans for using licensees as cross-ties for an infant-development line. FCB in New York picked up that business from Y&R, adding brands like Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street to its estimated $5 million in existing character business.