Top dog versus the underdog is a concept that has almost become a cliché at this point. Be it a natural leader and the new kid or Bratz vs. Barbies, there will always be competition. Depending on how a brand chooses to portray themselves, both being the underdog and the top dog can work for branding. Let’s discuss Hasbro and Mattel to find out who’s the top dog.
Hasbro & Mattel: Brand Strategy
Starting with brand strategy, Hasbro has branched out significantly over the past few years. Revenue has increased overall, and this may be due to their new marketing strategies. Ever since toys and games became more digital, Hasbro has incorporated more products into their company. This includes Monopoly, which has an array of table top games, video games, and a lot of brand promotion. Hasbro works with brands such as Spongebob, with an entire Wiki dedicated to the different themed Monopoly boards (over 300). This is just one of Hasbro’s properties, and they are capitalizing on it enough for it to stand on its own, let alone be it’s own, well, Monopoly.
Mattel originated with the iconic Barbie in 1959 when they were founded. Barbie has kept Mattel afloat over the years, even with some controversy. However, Mattel’s revenue has been steadily decreasing over the past few years. Part of their marketing has included being the top dog, and showing that their consumers prefer the often overpriced Barbies and accessories to “cheaper” toys like Hasbro provides. While Hasbro’s dolls may not be as popular as Mattel, I feel this is changing and Hasbro is now the top dog when it comes to toys.
Now that we know there’s a top dog and an underdog? What do consumers prefer? I feel that this varies from consumer to consumer, but I often prefer the underdogs for their family-oriented, small beginnings stories. I choose to support local, small businesses when I can. That being said, top dog companies like Amazon are so popular due to the convenience that they provide. I feel that in this particular situation that consumers prefer Hasbro for their branding, longevity, and how well-known they are. It’s almost impossible to be as well known and loved as Monopoly, and this shows to this day in 2023.
Looking To The Future
For the future, both Hasbro and Mattel will most likely struggle to stay relevant in an ever-growing digital world. Here are some recommendations that I would make if I were working with the Mattel, the underdog in this situation.
Firstly, Mattel should focus on Nostalgia Marketing. This is a type of marketing that capitalizes on the nostalgia of their consumers. I also believe that they should use what makes them stand out from other brands such as Hasbro, like their brand colors, fonts, themes, etc. Further differentiating themselves from the top dog will help find the target audience that they’re looking for. My final recommendation for the underdog Mattel would be to reach out to influencers to further their marketing campaigns.
Barbie and Monopoly will always be iconic in their own ways. This data just goes to show that you can’t always be on top, but you also won’t always be on the bottom. There is room for everyone in this marketspace, and you don’t have to be the world’s number one seller to be successful.
Mattel revenue 2010-2022: MAT. Macrotrends. (2023). Retrieved April 1, 2023, from https://www.macrotrends.net/stocks/charts/MAT/mattel/revenue#:~:text=Mattel%20annual%20revenue%20for%202022,a%2018.95%25%20increase%20from%202020.
Nail, M. (2020, December 1). Tdmonthly – Hasbro vs Mattel, who has the leading edge in 2020? toydirectory.com. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from https://www.toydirectory.com/monthly/article.asp?id=5992
Tighe, D. (2023, March 2). Hasbro revenue 2022. Statista. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/198710/net-revenues-of-hasbro-since-2006/#:~:text=Monopoly%20holds%20the%20Guinness%20World,games%20companies%20in%20the%20U.S.
WatchMojo.com. (2014, May 25). Top 10 Business Rivalries [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guRoWTYfxMs