Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012: Final Year for Hallmark Barbie and Mattel Ornaments

Due to changes in Mattel's licensing program, 2012 will be the final year for Hallmark Barbie ornaments and the popular Fisher-Price ornaments. Hallmark issued the following information regarding this change:

Hallmark takes pride in offering all of the top five licenses for our product categories, and seven of the top 10 licenses. Having contracts with companies like Disney, Warner Brothers, Lucasfilm and many others means we create products that your customers look for in your stores.

Unfortunately, in the highly competitive licensing arena, the game is constantly changing.

That is the case with Hallmark's 20-year relationship with Mattel. In the past couple of years, Mattel changed its licensing strategy, which means Hallmark's licensing requirements no longer align with Mattel's approach. Hallmark and Mattel wished to continue to work together on ornaments, but because Mattel had changed its long-standing approach to licensing, it was not possible for Hallmark and Keepsakes to remain in the relationship. As a result, 2012 is the last year Hallmark will have any Mattel properties - most notably Barbie and Fisher-Price. And the place where this will be most evident is in Keepsakes.

In the 2012 Dream Book that mails in mid-March, two series Barbie ornaments are noted as “final in series.” You may have collectors who ask questions once they read their Dream Books. So we are giving you this information directly before your customers received their Dream Books in their homes to help prepare you with answers to a few potential questions. Your sales representatives will be talking to you about this topic as well.

Q. Will there be Barbie ornaments in the 2012 Keepsake line?
A. Yes, there are 12 Barbie ornaments in the 2012 model line, as well as one exclusive ornament for the Barbie convention. There also will be two Fisher-Price ornaments. (If the shopper has not already seen the 2012 Dream Book, make sure to give them one when they are available in your store.)

Q. The Barbie series ornaments say they are “final in series.” Does this mean Keepsakes is starting a new Barbie series in 2013?
A. No, this is the final year for Barbie ornaments since Hallmark won’t have the license to create any Mattel products beginning in 2013.

Q. Is there any chance you'll reconsider, or I'll bet if enough consumers complain to Hallmark, you'll reconsider.
A. It's not about Barbie or Fisher-Price; Hallmark loves those properties. We know they're very popular and we've enjoyed working with them and with Mattel over the years. Since Mattel has changed its business strategy, the goals of our two companies just don't line up right now. If Mattel’s strategy changes in the future, we would gladly do business with them again.

Q. I have been a long-time collector and love the Barbie products. What is Hallmark going to do to replace Barbie ornaments?
A. Keepsakes offers a wide range of options for ornament collectors, and while Barbie may not be in the line in 2013, ornament collectors who buy for their children or who buy for themselves will find a variety of options that will be equally as fun to collect.

Q. If a customer is really angry about this change, who should they talk to?
A. You can tell your customers that Hallmark wanted to continue to offer Mattel licensed products, but Mattel changed its licensing approach. As always, however, they can call 1-800-HALLMARK if they want to do so.

Q. Will a different company be making Barbie ornaments in 2013?
A. Hallmark has no way of knowing if or whom Mattel may work with in the future.

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