I was fairly neutral on the Mattel recalls, not really blaming Mattel but this was an interesting week, one that leaves me saying “hmmmm.”
First Mattel’s CEO apologized to the US congress for what he said were suppliers who went around Mattel’s safety measures and created bad products of lead and small parts. Then the VP of International for Mattel just this week apologized to China for designing faulty products. Wait, which is it, bad suppliers or bad design?
This comes off as double speak in a big way and actually does more harm in the long run for Mattel because now you can’t trust them. Which side of their mouth should you listen too? They just shot their brand right in the head! Lead paint is not bad design; Mattel should say that to the Chinese instead of bending over backwards. If they designed things poorly, yes by all means apologize but is Mattel saying they designed their toys with lead paint being applied, in mind? One could make that argument based on the apology given to the Chinese government. Also doesn’t explain all the other bad products coming out of China so really this was just a bad move on Mattel’s part, really makes them look weak and more concerned with image rather than substance.
Then lets add in the 10% mark up on toys for “added safety.” Wait a minute Mattel, if it was just a few rogue supplies or bad design, why are we paying more?