Mattel has been hit with criticism after they blamed their falling sales of Hot Wheels cars on mothers who don’t understand how to play toy cars with their sons.
Hot Wheels, which is the company’s biggest boys’ business, has not seen growth in America for three years. One Mattel executive believes it’s because of mothers.
Rina Neiman, 49, mother of one, was one of the many angered by his comments.
“We can be blamed for many things, and I tell my son that he will eventually blame me for many things in his life, but falling toy sales? Please! Not due to our household, that’s for sure,” she said.
Vice President of Mattel, Matt Petersen, told Bloomberg last week that moms don’t understand the cars because they “never played with them.”
“She doesn’t get why cars, engines, and all the shapes and crashing and smashing are so cool,” he said.
Many mothers have went on parenting sites to complain. Magda Pecsenye, 40, said, “It assumes that moms are stupid and that just because we don’t play with Hot Wheels we don’t understand the cars. That seems like an enormous leap - to ignorance on the part of the consumer - especially of such a basic product...it’s a toy car. I get it.”
Neiman added, “What flabbergasts me is that Mattel has the nerve to blame moms for their falling sales.”
A professor of developmental psychology, Pam Davis-Kean, agreed.
“I have no doubt that most mothers are quite comfortable playing with toy cars with their sons and fathers are comfortable playing with dolls with their daughters,” she said.
Rachel Cooper, Mattel spokesperson, said they hosted a brunch for New York’s influential mommy bloggers to give tips on how to play Hot Wheels with their sons.
Cooper said the real purpose of the meeting was to listen to the moms.
“We asked them, ‘Do you play cars with your son and your daughter? Are there any challenges that you have playing with the cars?’ And we let them know some play tips,” she said.
Cooper said not every mother struggles playing with toy cars, but Mattel research shows some mothers do.
“It is something we thought was important to address,” she said.
Though many found the meeting pointless, some found it helpful.
“If there’s a company that’ll help me understand my kids better and share their content and research, I’ll give it a chance. I don’t always understand why my 2-year-old is maniacally throwing cars and then squeals with glee,” blogger Nancy Johnson Horn said.