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Ambassador’s November Report

Dear Matchbox Friends and Lovers:

My second report should answer most of the questions raised by you, which deserve an answer.
Questions on request of future models have been forwarded to Mattel and we have to wait and see for those answers.
I have also given information to Mattel on the status of the old Matchbox Factory in England (request of several collectors) and given some ideas in order not to forget the roots of Matchbox.
The report is split in two parts.
1. Strategic Points
Those are the main subjects raised in my Introduction report (Appendix 1 with the first ambassador’s report).
2. Your questions of October.
Of course Problem Number 1 most of you mentioned was the availability of the product. Most of yours feelings are that unfortunately it isn’t getting any better. The only thing we can do is keep on mentioning it to Mattel and give them some input on the local situation. I think that if Mattel reads the boards they get a pretty good idea of the availability in the USA. I still would like you to give me updates on your local countries. The more, the better. I would also like to know what other comparable scale branded products (Majorette, Siku, Hongwell , Fast Lane, Schuco etc.) in your country are more available than Matchbox. I will discuss those mails with Mattel as our first priority.
Meanwhile Matchbox is working with the responsible personnel of the International Marketing Department and will keep us posted on the progress.
Strategic Points
On the following subject I got a more or less satisfactory answer from Mattel. The other points of my Introduction report are still under discussion with Mattel.
Point where we have a limited agreement.
In some answers you will read the text but it does not guarantee anything at this time. This is why I mention a limited agreement. But I have faith in the present Mattel Team that they will give it indeed a serious consideration.

1. Dealer Catalog.
I advised Mattel strongly to have a look into the European Dealer Catalogs. I made them aware that some of the European catalogs include miniatures pictures of Hero City models 5 to 6 years old. This is an offense to Matchbox engineers in El Segundo who do their upmost to develop a fantastic line over the last 3 years. Also the fact that Europeans have only 4 or 5 pages Matchbox products (of which one is Finley!) doesn’t invite a lot of people buying other products than the very limited selection that is nowadays in Europe.
Comment from MATTEL
Mattel has now been made aware that the European Dealer Catalogs are showcasing outdated products. As a result, the El Segundo Team, along with our International Marketing Brand Champions, will be working closely with the affiliates to ensure the most up-to-date product information is being made available to retailers around the world.

2. Matchbox Support to Collectors.
There is no or limited support for Matchbox activities overseas. For the first time this year we got a show model made by Mattel for the Leipzig Toy Fair. However I think it’s more an activity of Amina Sekandari together with Dirk Schleuer than anything else.
Comment Mattel.
Matchbox is currently looking at creative ways to support select collector events (domestically and internationally) given their limited resources.

3. Special Ten Pack
I advised Mattel to develop special ten pack(s) that contain all unique models from play sets, pop-ups, seasonal products etc. That would not be their number one selling product, but it would also avoid that collectors buy expensive sets, replace the model and return the sets to the store. This will also add more models to the production, so we can still have uniquely developed models for Pop Up’s and Play Sets.
Comments from Mattel
The Matchbox team will take this idea into consideration if it fits within its production timelines, but do not guarantee anything at this time.

4. Pictures to replace text.
As more and more products are distributes in non-English language countries and thinking of the enormous potential in countries that don’t use the Roman alphabet (China, Cyrillic alphabet in countries around Russia, Japan, Islamic Language in the Middle East) I suggested Mattel to reduce the English text on the models and to try to replace it by pictures (a picture says more then 1000 words, also the licensed 5-packs have little or no text).

I also suggested asking every now and then to hire a well known artist to develop an artistic MB75 model or truck. I showed them some pictures from actual models. Think also about the Mattel Fischer range in the Leipzig toy fair 5 years ago. However this is far from criticism on the actual designs. They are better and more creative than ever.

Comments from Mattel
The Matchbox team will put this idea into consideration if it fits within the branding message, but does not guarantee anything at this time.

Your questions of October.
1. The MB372 Chevy Transport Bus has been issued in the new Police 5 pack and it has a plastic body! Is this is becoming a trend.
Comments from Mattel
Due to cost implications the DC Body was converted to plastic and Plastic Chassis converted to DC to help control the cost, which allowed us to keep this toy in the basic line.
Ambassador Comments
This is only a partly answer and I will discuss this further with Mattel.
2. The following Models:
a) MB780 Cadillac Ambulance
b) MB781 Rock Shocker
c) MB783 Jungle Crawler
All three have no mention of Mattel nor the copyright year anywhere on the base, and the omission is not for a lack of space. Is this just an omission or if it is intentional?

Comments from Mattel
Correct it is stamped on the inside/top of chassis for the 3 mentioned. By doing so we were allowed to keep the chassis detail of the vehicles while leaving just enough space for the model name, matchbox logo, country of origin (req’d) and scale (if lic.).
3. What has happened with the MB707 Groundbreaker?
Comments from Mattel
Unfortunately the tool cracked, w/o a duplicate back up mold we had to find replacement vehicle(s) and put a hold on the any production which called for this tool.
4. When will Batch B arrive and what happens with the expiration dater of the tokes for the mail in model?
Comments from Mattel
Batch B is due to be in stores in mid-November. We experienced tooling issues that pushed out our production date. We will be honoring the promotion through March 2010 as a result of the delay, but the promotion will only be good for UPC codes from the 2009 Superfast.
5. Is the Best of City Services/Outdoor Adventure still coming out ?
Comments from Mattel
The “Best of” series has been dropped for 2010.
6. When and on which card the Missing Sahara Survivor will be scheduled for release?
Comments from Mattel
The Sahara Survivor will be coming out in Mix B for 2010, but will be in the new packaging look for 2010. It will still have the 2009 collector number however.
7. As in the meantime batch A of 2010 has started when can we expect to receive an overview list of the 2010 Models.

Comments from Mattel
The 2010 new tools overview:
2010 Fiskars Karma Hybrid
2008 Holden VE Ute SSV
Caterham S5002010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon (’08 Rolls Royce Phantom Dropped)
2010 Honda Insight
71 Porsche 914
’69 Volvo P1800 S
Road Roller (non-licensed)
Hazmat Fire Truck (non-licensed)
International CXT Brush Fire Truck (replaces Pierce Impel Ladder Truck)
Delivery Truck (non-licensed)
1957 GMC Pickup Truck
Skid Steer Vehicle (non-licensed)
Trophy Truck (non-licensed)
2010 Ford Raptor
’43 Jeep Willys
’85 Toyota 4-Runner
’08 Yamaha Rhino
Ford Transit Connect
Ambassador Comments.
This point is only answered partly. Although I am impressed with the list I have asked Mattel again for the complete 2010 list as requested in this point.

8. Can we can get a picture of the packaging of the short cards as well as long card for 2010 as the production is already underway.
Comments from Mattel
We will get pictures.
9. Question was raised by several people already about the Line Preview. It’s essential that we get a date as soon as possible in order to book for cheap flights. Please take into consideration that (especially for the Europeans) this is a very costly affair.
Comments from Mattel
Details are not finalized yet… Design and Marketing to discuss future date.
Ambassador Comments
I have asked Mattel to handle this point with more urgency as many of us have to book far in advance to get cheap flight tickets and Hotel arrangements.
10. Will there be any holiday models, Halloween? Christmas? If yes, when and where?

Comments from Mattel
There will be a Christmas offering in 2009 at Wal* Mart. It will be a Licensed Entertainment

11. Will the Super Convoy range eventually have some real name cabs?

Comments from Mattel
The licensed cabs (Kenworth K100E & International Lonestar) will be available in stores in November. A DAF XF105 will be available next February.

12. With reference to the upgrading of Matchbox, why doesn’t Mattel try a bit harder to get the models reviewed by 'Model and Diecast Collector magazines'?
Comments from Mattel
Ryu and I (Amina) plan to sit with Nigel Cooper in February or April to give an interview, which is to be shared in Collector Magazine

:) :D :p

823 Posts
Interesting report and feedback David. Mattel's interests must lie with producing toys for childern and I find it amazing that they consider the views of collectors!

Regarding reviewing models in collector magazines. Diecast Collector stopped reviewing models ages ago! Thank goodness! Even in the new look debuted in the current issue they describe new releases. Model Collector does review models and gives them a rating out of ten. The reviews by Dom are a good laugh and I certainly don't use his system in my descision making process to buy or not to buy! What criteria is he using to rate a model? In my view he rates Oxford Diecast 1:76th scale models and Brooklin's far to highly. A review to be worth anything must be objective and not based on a personal liking! So what criteria would you suggest a magazine use for a 99p toy?

Cheers Chris

5,308 Posts
I agree. I was really hoping to see more of the "Best Of.." series. I'm sorry that the RR Phantom won't be coming out, also. Thanks, David.
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