Diecast and social media – why Matchbox is failing with Mattel ownership

Social media is now very important these days for companies to interact and reach with their customers. Most of them either have a Twitter account or more importantly a Farcebook page.

Recently Corgi/Hornby has joined the social media scene with its page on Farcebook. It is gives updates on the latest casting, promotional events, and so on. Making sure that the brand is out there. More importantly, there are updates from the Vanguards range which is the sub brand I am most interested in. I will blog about this in another post shortly. 
I have to give credit where credit is due – Corgi posted some info on the new MGB casting and I replied to that post with regards to the poor production of the wheels on the model. They are not right. And I got a reply to my post by Corgi themselves! No corporate message, but someone actually genuinely typing a reply. I mean, this is proper interaction with the customer base and shows that they are ready to engage with collectors and do not take criticism to heart.
Now look at Mattel and Matchbox – no Facebook fan page or – to my knowledge – Twitter feed. A website which is a token flash driven effort (those using ipod phones of the ipod pad thing are stuffed) which is full of poor quality content on the core 1-120 line. 

So I ask the question – why not Mattel? Why have you not bothered with a social media presence for the Matchbox brand? Why is there pure reliance on the Gathering to preview models? (I emphasise this again, I fully support The Gathering that Jim G organises every year). And why must answers come through for MB via the Ambassador? The irony of the situation is that the so-called answers to Matchbox collectors questions is posted on message boards and such, the forefather of social networks. Again Mattel are choosing not to move with the times with the brand. Yet the Hot Wheels brand has over 1.1 million likes and thus the brand getting the necessary exposure across the globe, not just within the US market.

Having thought about it a bit more, it is increasingly clear that the MB Amby is becoming an archaic position – not relevant in today’s media and world. Corgi is really taking strides to showcase castings, answer questions and interact with the buying public, whereas Matchbox (Mattel), insist on channelling their “preview” via the Ambassador in drips and drabs. More prominent a thought is that the Matchbox brand could be seen as uncool and despite the 2012 re-brand (what a shambles that was) a little fuddy-duddy.

I see no point asking the Amby any questions as all you get are one sentence answers which are token replies with no real depth to them from Mattel. The MB Amby will no doubt disagree and thus rustle up the pom poms and champion the cause as well as Mattel. “All is well in Mattel Land – they are doing a great job, look at the wonderful castings and graphics (!!)”

Well they are not going to say anything different are they? They have been put in the position by Mattel so they are not going to f**k it up – maybe the lure of that gold Routemaster is just too much to actually challenge and critique – not so much the conduit between Mattel and the collector.

If Mattel did choose to explore the social media route, then I would almost certainly say that the role of the Amby would cease to exist. Some would say good riddance to the role as it is pointless and just a PR puppet for Mattel on the cheap – some would deeply lament the loss of their monthly news fix.

But what is clear is this – Mattel are not interested in the Matchbox brand – at all. The lack of investment is clear to see and driven by the bean counters. There is no interaction between the collector and the company and the only way you will know about the latest updates is via a diecast message board. So unless you are aware of these, there is no way of knowing the latest updates not model line up for 2013. The next generation of collector will most probably be a prolific user of social media and as mentioned before Hot Wheels are giving it large in this arena – it keeps the interest alive in the brand and will keep the collector interested. At this point in time, you just cannot see who the next generation of collectors are for the Matchbox brand.

I understand that there is a bustling team of talent within the Matchbox brand, but Mattel are not letting the brand thrive or their ideas flourish with a lack of investment. Perhaps Mattel should take the plunge and just give Matchbox a honourable death – at present the lack of commitment to the brand is more akin to torture. 


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