Mattel fail again – The Land Rover series

Recently it was revealed that Matchbox were releasing a Land Rover themed series of vehicles in unique packaging.

I don’t pay much attention to Matchbox anymore, but this really did catch my eye. It looks great. And I wanted to get all the models.


Mattel once again cock it all up by only releasing this set in the US&A.

The question is why?

I have documented many a time before that Jean Gomez has been responsible for the overseeing of the Boys brand at Mattel HQ, but she has now left to Hasbro and been replaced by the genius that is Jason Horowitz. The now Head of Global Brand and Marketing is clearly a HW boy as per his CV, but he has not stayed in a position for more than two years which tells me that this is just his rung up the corporate Mattel ladder and another box to tick.

And therefore this is starting to make sense. Horowitz ‘s priority is now HW, making that the global diecast car powerhouse that it wants to be. However, this is now showing at the expense of Matchbox. Such lines as the LR range are yet more attempts to take the heat off the brand which is getting bad press as of late so that collectors can be satisfied that Mattel give a toss. But they clearly don’t.

Horowitz has failed to address the basics such as global distribution and better castings and is demonstrating that he is just keeping the brand ticking over. Under his direction he has made a shambolic effort with the website which is more or less useless, thrown a good casting here and there for the MB collector and has now started to use the John Lambert blog as the social media outlet rather than invest time and effort in getting a FB or Twitter presence! It is all well and good having an Instagram account, but the focus should have been on  the most popular social media methods than rely on teaser photos to generate excitement.

The same problems still lie with no released listing for 2015 or 2016 with learned community members like Dave Tilley compiling the listings using his own steam for the benefit of all.

And now the LR range failure to get this to the actual car’s home base – the UK – has fallen flat on the arse of buffoonery as it is deemed that it is easier to flog the models in the US&A! What is Horowitz playing at? So thanks to his direction, collectors will have to pay over the odds for a set on the likes of ebay, etc. I am sure Horowitz will cite that this decision is the bean counters more than anything else. But equally he is cannot just restrict good ideas to one market if the Matchbox brand needs to get the cred that it needs to restore the faith of many. You cannot even collect a full set of models for any one year any more without having to go through huge lengths to do so.

As we well know through my exclusive interview with a Snr ex-Mattel executive, Mattel will never sell the brand of Matchbox due to the value of the name. But rather than mothball, they will just keep it on life support, trickling bits of pleasure every now and again and using the Lambert blog to whip up excitement. He has no problem with Hot Wheels as Mattel have the ability to throw as much money at the brand as possible – after all it is their baby and thus looked after far better than the adopted brother.

So whilst he is climbing his career ladder and getting kudos for some of the work, he is failing in the grand scheme of things. Make a decision Jason – kill the bloody thing off in terms of brand (which you will never do of course), or invest time and effort to make it better addressing the basics first (which you will never do as HW takes the wallet share).

Another Top Mattel executive who is losing the plot at the hand of the bean counters and not challenging them to make better decisions. The last Amby report (if you can call it that) highlighted all the markets that Mattel could not be arsed with, much to the disappointment of those collectors who would love to see the brand back in their country. Focusing on the US keeps him out of trouble and within a market that he knows. I mean, who wants to work hard for little reward elsewhere?

I am now going to see how this pans out, but Jason Horowitz is in line for the Idiot of the Year award in making poor, poor decisions about the Matchbox brand. He’s been there a year, just……what is the reckoning his job title will change in the next 12 months to something else?


One thought on “Mattel fail again – The Land Rover series

  1. Pingback: The Matchbox farce continues | Musings from my Garage

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