Robbie Brenner, President, Mattel Films, Mattel Steve Totzke, President & Chief Commercial Officer, Mattel Krystina Gustafson, SVP Content, Shoptalk (Interviewer)

What Is Mattel´s Life After Barbie?

Mattel Films President Robbie Brenner and Mattel President and Chief Commercial Officer Steve Totzke recently gave an insightful presentation at Shoptalk, where they discussed the company’s incredible growth in the last five years. Krystina Gustafson, SVP Content at Shoptalk, expertly guided the discussion, which explored Mattel’s transition from a top toy maker to a diverse entertainment giant, highlighting a strategy change that has revolutionised the industry.

A New Era for Mattel

Steve Totzke outlined the transformation, emphasizing Mattel’s shift towards being an IP-driven, high-performing toy company that leverages its vast intellectual property to venture into digital gaming, print publishing, music, live experiences, television studios, and films. This transition reflects Mattel’s ambition to not only maintain its dominance in the toy industry, where it has been the number one toy company in the U.S. for 30 consecutive years but also to carve out a significant presence in the broader entertainment landscape.

Entertainment Ventures and Achievements

Mattel’s foray into entertainment has been nothing short of spectacular, with its projects receiving critical acclaim and commercial success. From winning an Emmy for Monster High to securing eight Oscar nominations and winning Best Song, Mattel has demonstrated its prowess in creating compelling content that resonates with audiences worldwide. The company’s digital gaming and live entertainment ventures further underscore its commitment to delivering diverse and immersive experiences.

Strategic Focus and Execution

A key to Mattel’s success has been its strategic focus on leveraging expertise across different verticals. Totzke credited CEO Ynon Kreiz with ensuring that each division, whether digital gaming or films, is led by specialists passionate about their fields. This approach has enabled Mattel to innovate and execute with precision, distinguishing it from competitors and setting a new standard for the industry.

Mattel Films: A Story-Driven Approach

Robbie Brenner shared her journey transitioning from indie film to leading Mattel Films, highlighting the emphasis on storytelling as the cornerstone of Mattel’s film strategy. By focusing on authentic, bold narratives, Mattel Films aims to create cinematic experiences that are not just about promoting toys but offering engaging stories that captivate audiences. The success of the Barbie movie serves as a testament to this approach, blending art with commerce in a manner that enhances brand value while delivering quality entertainment.

Consumer Products and Brand Synergy

The Barbie movie’s impact extended beyond the silver screen, generating significant revenue across toys and consumer products through 165 unique partnerships. This synergy between content and commerce exemplifies Mattel’s ability to create cultural moments that drive demand, showcasing the company’s innovative approach to integrating its entertainment and product offerings.

The Future of Mattel

Looking ahead, Mattel’s roadmap includes exciting projects across its portfolio of brands, with 15 films in development, including titles like American Girl, Polly Pocket, and Magic 8 Ball. These projects reflect Mattel’s commitment to diversifying its entertainment offerings and continuing to engage audiences in new and innovative ways.


As detailed in their Shoptalk interview, Mattel’s transformation under the leadership of Robbie Brenner and Steve Totzke illustrates a bold vision for the future of entertainment. By blending its heritage in toy manufacturing with a forward-looking approach to content creation, Mattel is poised to continue its legacy of innovation and success in the entertainment industry.

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