Barbie's doll career has been dominating the toy market for decades. Not one to sit idly by, her skill set ranges from teacher to pediatrician, from fashion model to stay-at-home mom, inspiring young children all over the world to live their dreams through play. Mattel has made billions, relying on Barbie's success since her start in 1959. One doesn't have to search far into the world of imagination to think of how "Shareholder Barbie" would respond to the breakdown of standards causing millions of her toys to be recalled last month. It might read something like this:
To: Robert Eckert, CEO Mattel Toys, Inc.
Re: Make This Right
Dear Mr. Eckert,
I am surprised and outraged by the recalls being forced in the United States due to the use of choking-sized magnets and lead paint on Barbie dolls and other toys. We have a responsibility to the millions of children who play with my dolls and to the millions of their younger siblings who inevitably end up chewing on my accessories. I have an image to uphold that cannot endure if we lower our quality standards.
I will continue to work countless hours, day after day, helping sick dogs in my veterinarian clinics, proudly wearing U.S. military uniforms, and performing for American Idol fans—each job with its own set of fashionable yet ridiculously uncomfortable shoes. In return, I expect that you, too, go the extra mile to ensure that our young customers are safe, with or without government intervention.
As a gesture of concern and contrition, Mattel should not only seek the highest quality health and safety standards for our customers, but for their environment as well. Do the world a favor and get rid of the frustrating excess plastic packaging that holds my dolls hostage while frustrated parents and care-givers injure themselves trying to unwind the miles of unnecessary twist ties and plastic wraps. As successful as our toys are, it is overwhelming to imagine the amount of packaging material we create every day that ends up in landfills for years to come. Our customers prioritize protection over presentation. Pare down on the plastic—our sales will soar from Mattel's leadership in environmental health and customer loyalty will reach new heights.
I appreciate your time and consideration in this matter. Though I am heading back to work now, I will be watching, as will the millions of customers who have made us what we are today. I trust that you will not let us down.