It couldn’t happen at a worse time for the U.S. toy industry.
As the official Christmas buying season kicks off on Friday this week, following Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched an initiative to remind parents of a wide variety of toy safety hazards. This initiative is suppose to convince parents and others that CPSC has stepped up its inspection efforts (which led to CPSC recalling 61 toys involving 25 million product units last year) and that the Chinese government has signed new agreements to prevent lead-painted and other unsafe toys from being exported to the USA.
And earlier this week, the California Attorney General’s office announced that it was suing Mattel, KB Toys, Toys “R” Us, and Wal-Mart for knowingly selling lead-tainted products.
Meanwhile, leading consumer advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PRIG) just released its “Trouble in Toyland” report, which points out that “hazardous toys are still sold in stores around the country.”
“It’s going to take toy companies a long time to earn back the trust of consumers,” says U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski, whose organization claims that toy manufacturers have long fought responsible regulation of the industry.
MediaPost Publications Marketing Daily has a good article on this situation and you can read the whole story here.
Does anyone have examples of consumer fears or government agency actions in other countries that they would like to share? Please send them to us using the comment section below and we will upload these to this blog and also share them with our 1000+ Monday Morning Marketing Memo readers.
For now, however, as the all-important Christmas season gets under way, the toy industry in the U.S. is facing some major branding, corporate image, marketing, and customer retention issues. These folks may not have a whole lot to be professionally thankful for when they sit down to their traditional turkey dinners on Thursday night.