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August 2, 2007

Fisher-Price, Big Bird and Dora Brand Names Take A Karate Chop in Toyland

fp-logo.gif Today's news that Mattel's Fisher-Price is recalling one million Chinese made toys is going to add further fuel to the anti-Chinese sentiment growing within the American consumer market... not that it will do much to stop Chinese exports into the USA.

What strikes me is that Fischer-Price is such an utterly American brand name: One of my staffers grew up near East Aurora New York, where Fischer-Price formerly made its famous toys before outsourcing most of its production to China.

This recall, the first in almost ten years for them, is going to illustrate that no brand name is above suspicion.

dora.gif Moreover, Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego are all blue chip toy names, and they are all tainted now. Thomas the Tank Engine and Hasbro's Easy Bake Oven are also suspect... is nothing sacred?

These are legendary brand names, not random cheapies cooked up in Shanghai.

Some bloggers point out that there is no need to panic and the Chinese juggernaut is a monster of our own making.

I agree.

But shoddy workmanship is killing famous brand name equity in the USA... and don't get me started on what counterfeit watches going for as little as $12 must be doing to the luxury brand name segment.

We like our cheap stuff and we like our knock offs, but I have to say that in the foreseeable future, products not made in China have a perfect means of creating a nice niche for themselves against the Chinese export tsunami.

USA.gifThe words "Made in USA" are going to sound especially sweet to nervous mothers shopping for their preschoolers.

I'm thinking that if you have a company name that references pretty much anything USA, put it prominently on the box and make sure customers know where your factory is located.

The great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu used to say "attack weakness, avoid strength", and China has just shown its Achilles heel.

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Posted by William Lozito at August 2, 2007 8:19 AM
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