Mattel’s China Experience: A Crisis in Toyland Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Mattel, a trade manager with a sterling standing in the corporate liability, was being pulled into a consideration vortex that had seen exaggerated a variety of products produced in and exported from China in the year 2007, including dog food, toothpaste, tires, and the seafood.

Mattel CEO Robert Eckert was facing a disaster.  As they took a $40 million bill for recalls Mattel's stock price dropped, and their prices increased because of added regulation in China and the United States. Customers threatened to boycott Mattel and all toys. Bob Eckert had been called to testify before both U.S. House and Senate hearings on toy safety. Chinese government officials observed the recall public relations strategy for what was mostly a Mattel design issue as blaming China's manufacturers of Mattel. This unfavorable publicity resulted in Mattel making a highly publicized public apology to China Li Changjiang, and China's quality watchdog chief, and attracted attention from Chinese regulators. When it looked like nothing could get worse for Mattel, Congress sent a letter to Mattel stating that the public dedication he had made to consumers during the first recall incident was not being honored by Robert Eckert. This tsunami of the negative events left Mattel executives puzzled and reeling could a company so highly regarded as a toy industry version of corporate citizenship find itself mired in such a controversy? How should they shield their brand? What should they do to restore their standing? Was this crisis a roadblock to achieving their vision of being the world's premier toy brand "tomorrow"?

PUBLICATION DATE: February 02, 2009 PRODUCT #: TB0057-HCB-ENG

This is just an excerpt. This case is about STRATEGY & EXECUTION

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