New York | Four award wins compound Mattel’s strong 2021 start

Mattel’s salute to the frontline key workers playing their role in helping the world fight the coronavirus pandemic have been paid recognition at this year’s all-virtual Toy of the Year Awards amid a triumphant sweep of four award category wins for the global toy maker.

It was the firm’s own Fisher Price brand that took home the win in the Action Figure of the Year category during the live-streamed event over the weekend, as the industry recognised the success and the message behind its popular #ThankYouHeroes action figure line.

Launched at the height of the pandemic last year, the #ThankYouHeroes action figure range pays homage to the real life super heroes that have each done their bit in the face of the crisis. As part of the company’s #PlayItForward campaign, proceeds from the sale of each action figure between April 29th 2020 and May 31st 2020 were donated directly to #FirstRespondersFirst, a fund dedicated to providing essential supplies, equipment, and resources for protecting frontline healthcare workers and their families.

The recognition for Mattel didn’t end their, however, and over the course of the ceremony the global toy maker was awarded no fewer than three more accolades, including Doll of the Year for its Barbie Colour Reveal range, Infant/Toddler Toy of the Year for its Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen playset, and Plush Toy of the Year for its Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child 11″ Plush.

“It is an honor to be recognized by our industry peers with four 2021 TOTY Awards,” said Steve Totzke, chief commercial officer, Mattel.

“These awards are a testament to Mattel’s iconic brands, world-class team, valued partners and how we are delivering on our purpose to empower the next generation to explore the wonder of childhood and reach their full potential.”

The triumphant score of four awards was matched only by the Danish toy maker LEGO who took home wins across Specialty Toy of the Year, Playset of the Year, Construction Toy of the Year, and Collectible of the Year.

The evening seemed to seal what has been considered a very strong start to the year for Mattel, who earlier this month celebrated its ‘best performance in years,’ with the emergence of its fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results.

Not only did the company beat all expectations to see Q4 net sales up ten per cent and full year sales increase by two per cent to hit $4,584 million, but it also reported a 12 per cent year on year growth across the EMEA, representing double-digit gains in both North America and EMEA, the firm’s two largest markets.

It’s according to the NPD that Mattel in fact outpaced the industry in Q4 2020 and grew approximately five times faster than the industry for the year.

The cherry on top of it all, perhaps, arrived when the founder of the now Mattel division, American Girl, Pleasant T. Rowland was inducted into this year’s Toy Industry Hall of Fame.

“Pleasant Rowland is a legend and, on behalf of everyone at Mattel, we would like to congratulate her on being inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and thank her for creating the iconic American Girl brand, now in its 35th year, that continues to inspire and empower girls,” added Totzke.

The Toy of the Year Awards are based on votes from expert judges comprised of toy retailers, media, Toy Association members, and consumers. The awards program is a critical fundraiser for The Toy Foundation, which delivers the magic of play to millions of children in vulnerable situations through industry-wide toy donations and cash contributions.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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