This morning, I heard on NPR that Mattel had announced yet another toy recall, and even though the size of the recall relatively small, I think they deserve a lot of credit for their proactive and upfront approach to this problem. The topic has caught the attention of Harvard Business School professor John Quelch in a recent HBS blog entry.
Of course in the public eye, their actions are likely to hurt them in the short term (especially with the holiday season around the corner). Nevertheless, I think the competition is sitting on a time bomb by not matching Mattel’s vigor in hunting down poor quality control. Time will tell whether Mattel’s brand will come out on top. I can’t help but remember the Tylenol/J&J case, and how aggressive the CEO was in handling that scare. That brand survived the immediate hit and still lives on as a trusted, even revered brand. I suspect that Mattel will, eventually, end up on top as a result of their actions.