2022年8月25日 星期四

Mattel Opens Its Vault to Revitalize Dormant Brands 芭比娃娃母公司開壓箱寶重振品牌

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2022/08/26 第397期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Mattel Opens Its Vault to Revitalize Dormant Brands 芭比娃娃母公司開壓箱寶重振品牌
Plans to Fight Global Warming Face an Obstacle in Paris: Trees 巴黎砍樹抗暖化悖論捅到馬蜂窩
Mattel Opens Its Vault to Revitalize Dormant Brands 芭比娃娃母公司開壓箱寶重振品牌
文/Gregory Schmidt


Barbie is about to reunite with some old friends. Mattel, the maker of the popular fashion doll, is dusting off three dormant lines that have not been on toy shelves in decades: Major Matt Mason, Big Jim and Pulsar.


The reappearance of three action heroes is part of a strategy hatched by Ynon Kreiz, Mattel's chief executive, to capitalize on the company's intellectual property by reviving old brands for new generations.


Mattel will reintroduce the toy lines under an umbrella label called Back in Action this week at Comic-Con International, the pop-culture fan fest in San Diego.


"This is our toe in the water," said PJ Lewis, vice president of global marketing at Mattel. "Back in Action helps us maintain the validity of our IP and decide what's next."


Kreiz's strategy has helped Mattel turn around its sagging fortunes since he took over in 2018. The company reported a 19% jump in sales in 2021, to $5.5 billion, and despite supply-chain bottlenecks and the rising costs of raw materials, it has forecast growth of 8% to 10% this year.


Part of the toymaker's recent success derives from the expansion of legacy brands. Barbie will feature in a live-action movie starring Margot Robbie, one of a dozen films in the works for various Mattel brands, including a live-action Hot Wheels movie produced by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company and one for Masters of the Universe, in partnership with Netflix. Other brands headed to the big screen include Thomas the Tank Engine, Magic Eight Ball and Polly Pocket.


But how will Mattel generate interest in brands that have been off toy shelves for decades?


Major Matt Mason, an astronaut action figure, was introduced in 1967 and saw success until children began to lose interest in space exploration. He resurfaced in pop culture in 2019 when Tom Hanks signed on to produce and star in a forthcoming movie about the spaceman. Big Jim arrived in 1971, followed by Pulsar in 1976, but they too have been out of the public eye for decades.


Mattel's strategy for reviving a dormant brand is to engage hard-core fans first, said Richard Dickson, the company's president and chief operating officer. If they take to it, the next step is to come up with tie-in content and create a toy line for children.


Plans to Fight Global Warming Face an Obstacle in Paris: Trees 巴黎砍樹抗暖化悖論捅到馬蜂窩
文/Constant Méheut


Long a favorite spot for picnics and sunbathing, the lawns surrounding the Eiffel Tower have recently become the scene of furious protests. First came a social media campaign. Then a rally by dozens of local residents. Before long, a protester had hunkered down in a nearby plane tree for a hunger strike.


The source of their anger? A plan to cut down more than 20 trees, some more than 100 years old, around the tower as part of an effort to build a huge garden and ease tourist congestion.


The controversy is just the latest in a series that has engulfed Paris City Hall as it tries to green the city, a task that appears all the more urgent as scorching temperatures bear down on the French capital, and on the rest of Europe.


Local authorities are redesigning Paris' urban landscape to make it more climate-friendly, but a growing number of residents say the widespread cutting of trees around the capital is paradoxically undermining the city's environmental ambitions.


Trees are considered some of the best defenses against the radiation that contributes to the heat waves that are on the rise everywhere because of global warming.


"Without the trees, the city is an unbearable furnace," said Tangui Le Dantec, an urban planner and co-founder of Aux Arbres Citoyens, a group protesting the felling of trees in Paris.


In recent months, small protests have sprouted across Paris, with residents and activists rallying around trees condemned by the sprawling urban development projects that have at times turned the capital into a giant construction site.


In April, they filmed the felling of 76 plane trees, most of them decades old, at the Porte de Montreuil on Paris' northern outskirts. City Hall wants to turn the site into a huge square, part of a project by the mayor, Anne Hidalgo, to create "a green belt" around the capital.


"Ms. Hidalgo please stop the massacre," said Thomas Brail, the founder of the National Group for the Surveillance of Trees, as machines chopped up trees behind him, in a video he shot in April. Brail later staged an 11-day hunger strike in a plane tree near the Eiffel Tower.


Yves Contassot, a former deputy mayor of Paris in charge of the environment and a member of the Green party, said cutting down trees had become "a very sensitive question that causes a bit of a scandal at a time when we talk about fighting global warming in big cities."


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