‘Throwing tech into toys’ is not the answer to engaging the next generation of children with play, according to Mattel’s CEO.
Margo Georgiadis took to the stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen to outline how the toymaker plans to win over ‘Generation Alpha.’
According to the CEO, children who play with Hot Wheels and Barbie today were born in the iPad and Instagram era, making them a different kind of consumer that Georgiadis plans to win over.
“A lot of people call them Generation Glass,” she said. “This is definitely a generation that has grown up expecting the world to be immersive, adaptable and increasing customised. And they want to be in charge.”
But according to the former Google executive, throwing tech into toys is not the answer.
“Generation Alpha has very different expectations for the entire world. Everything that’s going to happen in their lives needs to be visual, on demand, adaptive, in demand, and we have to find a way to embed that into our toy experiences
“There are a lot of toys that have been released that have tried to stimulate engagement with kids, but they’re actually fundamentally not that fun.
“Kids don’t want to eat spinach. If you don’t integrate the technology in a way that’s actually fun, the kids don’t stay with the play pattern.”
Over the past three years, Mattel has seen sales fall from $6.5 billion to $5.5 billion, while net income dropped from $904 million to $318 million.
Despite the challenges, Georgiadis is optimistic about what Mattel is trying to achieve and how it’s helping children to develop.
“It is our job to ensure that everyone feels included and empowered,” said Georgiadis. “We are living in a world that is increasingly diverse and part of helping kids develop, and be those successful leaders of tomorrow is helping them learn how to embrace multiculturalism and diversity.”