Possibly the best MCCH post ever

I can see the diehards with their rose tinted specs crying all through the night.

Below is and extremely well written piece about the naivety of those who truly believe that they are able to influence the direction of the Matchbox brand via the MCCH. There are going to be at least two “members” – I refer to them as idiots – who will refute every word and blindly live in hope. I want nothing but to prove to them that the Matchbox brand is being wound down.

There are a group of Mattel employees that certain people on this board repeatedly refer to as “The Matchbox Team.” Not understanding that this is a false concept is allowing yourself to be misinformed about the future of the brand. We would all like to believe there is a group of people who are singularly tasked with protecting the integrity of the Matchbox brand, but the facts tell a very different story. It’s time to stop perpetuating the “Matchbox Team” myth.

This misnomer is often repeated by well meaning collectors. There is very simply only a group of Mattel Wheels designers who are tasked with designing models for the Matchbox brand on occasion. These same Mattel Wheels designers are also tasked with designing vehicles for the Hot Wheels brand on occasion, and often simultaneously! This is not some Special Event when a “Matchbox” designer does a “Hot Wheels” model, or vice versa. This is simply a team of designers under one roof. Sure, they put on a little dog and pony show for diehard Matchbox collectors at least once a year at their HQ, but when you leave they go back to reality.

My opinion is Felix believed in the brand up to and until greener pastures called. His future success at Mattel depends much more on the continued success of Hot Wheels today. While I doubt very much Felix has any interest in being at the helm during the demise of Matchbox as a 1:64 scale brand, it will not be the end of his career if he is. I think he’s a pragmatist, and getting the green depends on brand blue, not orange.

It would not surprise me in the least if Felix doesn’t personally believe in the “New Direction” of Matchbox, which may come from higher up the corporate ladder. Having met some of the players over the years I think I have an idea of where the edicts are coming down from. I wouldn’t be surprised if Felix is the only reason Matchbox is even still in the small-scale business at all at this point. There are those in corporate who see no reason why Hot Wheels shouldn’t be the one-and-only Mattel brand in the space. The fact of the matter is Felix is bringing a lot of what we like about Matchbox over to the Hot Wheels brand to keep us spending our money with Mattel, if not with Matchbox.

For the VAST MAJORITY of collectors their money follows quality. Matchbox is the “First Love”, but if Hot Wheels makes a great model for a buck, you bet I buy it, and always have.

With all due respect to those who exercise their right to choose ONLY to buy and collect Matchbox models (no matter how awful I think they may be), you are a tiny minority of the diecast market and are not a part of the discussion in the inner sanctums of multinational toy companies. If they can make a bigger buck by putting Matchbox-style cars on Hot Wheels cards, they will. If that means the eventual death of Matchbox as a small-scale brand, they are fine with that, too.


7 thoughts on “Possibly the best MCCH post ever

  1. It is perfectly clear to me Matchbox is a thorn in the side of Mattel,they are putting very little effort in at any level.I am also sick to the back teeth of people like DT who are always defending and making excuses for them.

    Let me try and spell it out Mr DT,you have no direct line to God like you think,they take no notice what so ever about what you or any other anorak says.

    His latest defence,Toy Fairs are a busy time and not enough hours in the day,you sad git stop believing all this total crap you write.

    Shall I tell you how it really is,they all laugh at the lot of you over the coffee break each morning.


  2. I think the “Matchbox Team” was very real when it started, designing the 2005 lineup. The following years it was clear to see they were still in charge.

    The realistic cars and some obscure models included prove to me the guys in charge of Matchbox were applying a very different idea of making toy cars than those rulling Hot Wheels.

    Where the teams completely separated and dedicated exclusively to each brand? I don't know, but I can't see why it would matter, really. As long as you have talented designers and a clear leadership, I think you can have people working on both lines and still keeping the brands separated.

    A “Matchbox team” doesn't necesarily have to mean a group of people working only for Matchbox.

    But obviously you are right there is not a real “Matchbox Team” anymore. I think all went wrong since Felix departed from the brand… changes like Michael Heralda designing liveries for Matchbox and Ryu working for Hot Wheels should have been enough warning of the demise of the MB Team by mid-2010.

    I think you should do like me and don't get very involved with the Matchbox brand. Just get the like 5 nice models they will put out in 2011, treat it like it was just any other brand and get over it.

    There is no need of bothering people like DT anymore. They are groupies and it's fine. I respect his feelings while I'll never understang or find logic in his late opinions. Liking something just because of a brand doesn't work for me.

    Let them be happy with the Hot Wheelish Matchbox they now have, buy all the nice Matchbox-like Hot Wheels that are coming out now, and live as there will be no more Matchbox brand tomorrow because that is what is most likely happen at the end anyway.


  3. Sadly MB stopped being MB when design and marketing left English shores. I think Mattel treat the 'brand' MB better than previous owners, but everything printed in this post is true.

    My bet is that MB will soon disappear. As soon as the return from investment dips below a Mattel known number.

    The lack of marketing, lack of POS advertising, lack of online presence, recent retrenchment of field sales staff etc.

    MB may exist soon as sub brand, like HW Garage. Would this be better ? i note that full metal bodies are used on the premium HW lines, unlike the plastic bodies that were foisted on the Lesney Edition line in some offerings.

    Im not opposed to the new direction MB are going in 2012. If kids buy these, if their parents buy them – the brand will continue.

    Too many on the MCCH want tiny perfect reproductions of cars they rode around in back in the day. kids dont want that. Kids will buy non-real cars, just as we did back in early 70's Superfast days with bizarre MB offerings. i still love my planet Scout!

    HW and MB are toys, that we adults collect. i wish people would remember that. if kids no longer want to buy them – then the line will simply be replaced by one that will.


  4. You are certainly right, this is one of the best reads the MCCH has had in a very long time. I do like the various opinions and arguments put forward but in my mind it is as clear as crystal. The writing is on the wall for the demise of the brand and that is exactly what Mattel want.
    Look at the brands history, it was dying in fact almost dead they changed direction after the Zero City days and then kept telling us how profits were rising, the brand was growing and the stores were wanting more and more of the product…so how does Mattel react to this, take what has worked so well from Matchbox and make it under the Hot Wheels brand, then replace it with what doesnt work with Hot Wheels and put that out under the Matchbox brand.
    For me it is clear, they (Mattel) want the brand dead and buried and for me…so be it. I will buy something else, infact more and more I find myself buying Siku lately, slightly higher in price but so much more to my liking, rubber tyres, metal bodies (not plastic like Matchbox). A lot more realism, also why I have been looking more at Hot Wheels, if it looks good and is to my liking then I will buy it.


  5. Loved all the replies guys,I just wish other people like you had the guts to put it out on the MCCH.That now locked thread about the Focus RS had even Christakis not knocking the HW car.


  6. You know what, I have said that and more on the MCCH, but it is worthless. I'm sure our opinion is clear on the boards and likely even among Matchbox people at Mattel.

    The problem is that no matter how loud we could get, they won't listen anyway. Hot Wheels is more important at Mattel and that's the end of the discussion.


  7. Folks, thanks so much for posting your comments and thoughts via this blog post. I can sense that some of you needed to get your feelings off your chest without fear of being victimised/banned.


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