Mattel Searches for New Agency for Games Business

Marketer Has No Lead Shop Handling That Portion of its Account

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Mattel is on the hunt for a new creative agency for its games business, Ad Age has learned.

According to people who have seen the request-for-proposal document issued by Mattel, the company is searching for creative ideas to market games such as Scrabble and possibly others. It is believed that the winning agency would be tasked to handle work domestically as well as in some global markets. Procurement is understood to be involved in the pitch.

"As part of our ongoing commitment to deliver a world-class experience for kids and grow our total share of play, Mattel, Inc. is currently hosting a Games Creative Agency RFP," said a spokeswoman in statement. The review is "invitation-only" and is expected to wrap by spring 2012.

Y&R previously done TV work for games accounts including Scrabble, but hasn't since spring 2010. It's also believed that the WPP agency also worked on the Hot Wheels and Matchbox brand but has not since June, although holiday work airing for the brands was created by Y&R. People familiar with Mattel also said that the company farmed out Hot Wheels work to independent agency Mistress.

Y&R is the lead shop on other pieces of the Mattel business, including American Girl, Disney Entertainment, Disney Princess, and Fisher-Price. Those assignments are not impacted by the games review.

Mattel in 2010 spent about $186.6 million on domestic measured media spending, according to Kantar, up from $179.1 in 2009. Spending for 2011 seems to be trending downward, tallying only $42.3 million from January through August. It is possible a larger push could be planned year-end for back-to-school and the holiday season. Some of the bigger brands in terms of spending in 2010 included Barbie, Fisher-Price, American Girl and Hot Wheels.

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