Mattel is once again looking to tackle the issue of gender stereotypes, this time by putting the power of its popular Matchbox brand in the hands of those least likely to play with them, girls.
In both celebrating International Women’s History Month while hoping to break down gender stereotype barriers, the toymaker has teamed up with Mercedes Benz to hand out die-cast Matchbox replicas of the Mercedes-Benz 220SE to thousands of girls across the US.
In doing so, both Mattel and Mercedes-Benz will also commemorating the achievements of the Swedish racing champion Ewy Rosqvist, who in 1962 made history for being the first woman to enter and win one of the toughest rallies in the world – the Argentinian Grand Prix.
Mercedes-Benz has a history of celebrating women trailblazers dating back to Bertha Benz, the wife of the inventor of the automobile. Bertha bucked convention and took the Patent Motorwagen on the first-ever, long-distance drive, proving it as a viable mode of transportation.
“Through Ewy’s story, we saw an opportunity to inspire young girls to ‘play outside the box’ and imagine all the different opportunities open to them without the restrictions of traditional stereotypes,” explained Mark Aikman, general manager of marketing services for MBUSA.
“We realised that these pioneering women from our past could serve as valuable role models for young girls today and have a positive impact on how they see their future. This led us to collaborate with Matchbox to create a tangible reminder for girls that there are no restrictions on their tomorrow.”
Mercedes-Benz has produced a video titled No Limits, in which the company captures the reactions of young girls when given an assortment of toys. When handed a toy car, the girls dismiss it as being ‘for boys’. However, after seeing the short film about Ewy Rosqvist, each of the girls has a visible attitude shift.
The toy cars will be will be gifted by MBUSA and Mattel/Matchbox as part of the Dream Gap Foundation to thousands of young girls through a non-profit partner, and sold in stores nationwide beginning in 2020.
Proceeds from these sales will be used to make and distribute additional cars. In addition, a teaching toolkit will be provided.