I was looking for a logo for the “revised” logo for the 1-75 range to be launched next year, when I came across this article written by Brad Collins (who also follows this blog).
It was written in July just after the MCCH Shindig in US&A that seems to be only reserved for those in US&A (heaven forbid the thought of Mark Curtis et al trying to organise summat in Europe – that would mean leaving America and we can’t have that can we….)
the article gives a good summary of the direction Mattel are choosing to take for 2012, and at the end Brad sums it up very nicely. It would be interesting to read any comments on the change of direction here – without the beady policing that is now incumbent on the MCCH, so feel free to post what you really feel about this topic.
Last weekend there was a diecast convention held in Albuquerque New Mexico (USA) and the attendees of this gathering were fortunate enough to hear directly from Mattel, Inc. about their plans for the future of the Matchbox brand of diecast vehicles. The main point of the presentation was regarding the positioning of the Matchbox brand between Mattels other two major vehicle brands, Hot Wheels and Cars or Cars 2. So from this point of view it was clear the team at Mattel needed to create a brand new marketing focus so that the Matchbox diecast toys brand would stand out from the Cars and Hot Wheels brands, they hope that by making the planned changes that Matchbox will be granted a much larger share of shelf space in the big box stores and to create an identity for Matchbox that will make it stand apart from their other brands and hopefully fulfil a niche that Hot Wheels and Cars are not currently filling.
The new marketing focus has changed from Real, Action and Adventure to Unstoppable vehicles for heroic adventure and this new focus is to be carried right through all products within the Matchbox brand it was said that Hot Wheels will focus on racing, edgy vehicles, hot rods, custom vehicles and the Cars brand will obviously concentrate on the character from the Disney Cars movie franchise, Matchbox will attempt to fill the void of heroic adventure vehicles.
The other change is an increase in the basic line, from 2012 the 1-75 line that had been increased to 1-100 will increase again to become a 1-120 line, although this will only be in the core USA releases, the ROW markets will most likely not see an increase, the 120 vehicles will then be split into 12 different sub categories each with 10 models in it, the sub categories will be:
• – Airport
• – Arctic
• – Beach
• – Big City
• – Construction
• – Desert
• – Highway
• – Island
• – Jungle
• – Mountain
• – National Parks
• – Old Town
The increase in models in the core line will see some models like the VW Caddy dropped from the core line as it doesn’t fit with the new marketing idea, although it may appear in 5 packs and the re-introduction of some older castings such as boats and motorcycles. There will be a large selection of fire and police vehicles as well as farm equipment and 4x4s such as those listed below:
• – 1952 Seagrave Fire Truck
• – 1956 Buick Century Police
• – 2011 Ford Explorer Interceptor
• – 2011 Dodge Charger Police Car (with roof lights!)
• – Ford F-350 Superlift Brush Fire Truck
• – 4×4 Ambulance (non licensed)
• – Oshkosh M-ATV (combat vehicle currently used by US forces)
• – BMW R1200 RT-8 Police Motorcycle
• – Treaded Tipper Truck (non licensed)
• – New Lift Truck (non licensed)
• – Vintage Tractor (non licensed)
• – Farm Spreader (non licensed)
• – Cab over Tow Truck (non licensed)
• – Garbage Truck (non licensed)
• – 4 Wheel ATV (non licensed)
• – Jeep Wrangler Superlift
• – 4 Treaded 4×4 (non licensed)
• – 2 Treaded Snow Vehicle (non licensed)
• – 4×4 Sports Car
The other major change to the brand is the Matchbox logo itself, after reverting back to the original logo some years ago, it will now be changed as shown in the picture to drop the lozenge look but it will retain the same font as before.
It has also been mentioned that we can expect to see some older casting, retooled into something new released in the new future, the example give was the old MB058 Faun Dump Truck that was retooled into a crane a few years back, will be retooled again into a construction water truck. There will also be new wheel designs added although there are no images at this point so we just have to wait to see what they look like.
Real Working Rigs will continue in 2012 and these also will fit the new look, there will be mining vehicles, 4×4 vehicles and more, mostly non licensed vehicles to help keep the costs down and the Skybusters range will be much the same, a lot of new castings but mainly generic non licensed aircraft.
So what does all this mean for the future of Matchbox, well I guess in reality only time will tell, but I certainly think that most of the changes are not a good thing, when you combine this information with that of the previous report or two from Mattel, then overall it seems that the future direction seems to be about generic castings, with hideous paint work and lots of plastic. I don’t think that bodes well for the future of Matchbox diecast, but then with the difficulty we all seem to be having in obtaining new models due to the distribution issues Mattel have, will we even notice.
This article was published on Tuesday, 26. July 2011.