Mattel has appointed Lola, Lowe & Partners' Madrid-based agency, to handle its European advertising and digital account, which includes Barbie, Hot Wheels, Monster High, and Max Steel, as well as new product launches.The win comes after a pitch -- conducted without a consultant and led by the procurement team at Mattel -- that took four months from the initial Request for Information to agencies until the decision. It is not known which other agencies pitched for the business, but Ogilvy & Mather has handled Mattel business for more than half a century.
Miguel Simoes, CEO of Lola, said, "This is a huge opportunity and a chance for us to help [Mattel] get a powerful position in the negotiations between child and parent – it's a process that involves a lot of emotion. Mattel is really in the international entertainment business, so this is fertile creative territory."
Mattel is No. 78 in Ad Age's ranking of the top 100 global marketers, with worldwide adspend in major media of $466.4 million in 2011. Of that, Europe accounted for $172 million, comparable to the U.S. at $178 million. Spain accounts for around 12% of European sales.
The Fisher Price brand, also part of the Mattel portfolio, was unaffected by the pitch. Fisher Price appointed McCann London to handle its European advertising account last month.
Until recently, Lola – which stands for Lowe Latina -- has been dominated by Unilever brands. However, in September, the agency won the international advertising and digital account for the Seat car brand (part of the Volkswagen Group) alongside fellow Interpublic Group agency, Huge. Seat is a Spanish car brand, with headquarters in Barcelona, and exports 83% of its vehicles.
Mr. Simoes joined Lola two years ago, as one of a team of six new executives, including chief creative director Chacho Puebla, after a number of the original founders defected to JWT. He was previously president of Publicis Groupe's creative agencies in Portugal.
Lola was set up in 2007, conceived as an international Latino creative force that would provide a European gateway to the fast-growing markets of Latin America.
Mattel did respond to a request for comment.