Here’s a key lesson Mattel learned after not carefully monitoring social media pages: when you snooze you lose.
In January, a Facebook page advocating a bald Barbie went viral. The page went from a few likes to over 100,000.
This is when Mattel should’ve stepped in. Instead they sat by for four months. They issued no statement. It looks as though Mattel’s PR agency didn’t know what was going on.
The community firmly believed Mattel had nothing to lose from creating the Beautiful and Bald Barbie. It would be something positive for children with cancer and diseases who suffer from hair loss.
As the consumer’s cry got louder another company – MGA – answered. The company is Mattel’s biggest competitor and manufactures Bratz and Moxie dolls.
It created a line of dolls called “True Hope” featuring two boy and four girl dolls. They will be available in June and $1 from every sale will go to City of Hope for cancer research.
Mattel missed out. When the media was buzzing they remained silent.
Three months later Mattel announced they would make a doll called Bald Friend of Barbie and would distribute it to children’s hospitals and charities in 2013. But it was too late. The media coverage was gone and the social community got what they wanted from MGA.
Mattel could have benefitted from positive press and an increase in sales. Instead the biggest competitor stepped in and capitalized off Mattel’s biggest opportunity.
This is a lesson for PR companies alike. Listen to your social media community and monitor what they say. Always answer when customers call for you.