Shortly after Mattel released info that its Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer toys (from their Fisher-Price division) contained dangerous lead paint, Mattel has recalled toys because of a dangerous magnet issue. They want parents to return 7.3 million Polly Pocket play sets, 1 million Doggie Day Care play sets and about 345,000 Batman action-figure sets. Mattel also says it is recalling about 250,000 "Sarge" diecast cars containing lead paint.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says three children have become seriously ill by swallowing more than one of the Polly Pocket magnets, causing internal perforations that required surgery and extended hospital stays.
theKbuzz has (well, HAD) several Polly Pocket items. Our four year old daughter enjoys these little magnetically dressed freaks. We also still have a lot of Dora toys that didn't make the recall. But I have to tell you, as a mom who doesn't freak out much, I am, in fact, FREAKING out.
I'm not one to respond to "level orange" terror alerts. I don't like things that are designed to instill fear in people-- and generally, I ignore such things. However, when it comes to my kids, there's nothing I won't do to protect them. And I'm banking on the fact that many parents feel the same. Dora, you're being evicted. Take your shit, take that little blonde Polly person, and get out.
That being said, of course, Mattel is huge, and while this will put a dent in their revenue for a while, this will not REALLY stop parents from buying Mattel products. Why, you ask? It's simple. Every parent right now is digging through their toychest, throwing away every Abuela, Boots, and Doggie Day Care Doggie that they see. However, these parents WILL be back in the toystore. And while they may not trust Mattel, they DO trust Toys R Us, Kaybee, Target, and other toy hotspots. That, combined with the ever-pleasant sounds of the high pitched "Mommeeeeeeeeee, I want that", will save Mattel from eternal damnation. Still, they need to respond.
How should they respond, you ask? I don't think you need a huge buzz campaign to counteract this problem. I believe that the problem is solved through retailer relationships and signage signage signage. Form an independent safety inspection company. Call it something that sounds safe. Make it safe. Get some great signage and put it up on EVERY shelf where Mattel is sold-- This product has been tested and has received the (insert safety name) seal of approval. THEN, I might send a guerilla team of safety inspectors to daycares, community organizations, and nursery schools to inspect, free of charge, all of their Mattel, and other, toys. That's enough to get some buzz going, and keep the brand stable!