KidScreen Retail: Mattel Media acquires PrintPaks

PrintPaks' recent acquisition by Mattel Media is 'like a dream date come true,' according to PrintPaks president Judy MacDonald....
February 1, 1998

PrintPaks’ recent acquisition by Mattel Media is ‘like a dream date come true,’ according to PrintPaks president Judy MacDonald.

PrintPaks publishes software titles, including Super Jewelry Kit and Super Magnet Kit. The multimedia craft titles allow users to create jewelry, greeting cards, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets using a color printer.

MacDonald says there were two key factors in PrintPaks’ decision to go with Mattel: distribution and awareness.

‘We have great products, great people, great concepts,’ she says. ‘We don’t have distribution really. We manage to get into quite a lot of places, but it’s nothing like having the power of Mattel behind you.’

‘Our second biggest problem was awareness. Our ad budgets are just minuscule compared to what Mattel can spend and will spend on products it believes in.’

Mattel Media publishes girls software titles, including Barbie Fashion Designer and Barbie Magic Hair Styler. PrintPaks is Mattel Media’s first acquisition and will allow the company to access PrintPaks’ expertise in the multimedia crafts category. PrintPaks products appeal to a wider audience than the girls that Mattel targets with its Barbie software.

‘[Mattel] believes in the category of multimedia crafts, so we’ll definitely be looking at relaunching the PrintPaks brand underneath the Mattel umbrella,’ says MacDonald.

PrintPaks will more than likely be working on Mattel brands, says MacDonald. For now, Mattel Media is leaving the company as an independent unit in Portland, Oregon.

‘Definitely, there are people now who are going to look at what we do and say `yeah, that’s good’ or `no, that’s not good,’ especially as it applies to using Mattel brands,’ says MacDonald. ‘And that’s fine with us. It’s more or less business as usual, but we’re starting to filter in the people who can affect future products.’

MacDonald says the first discussions with Mattel Media, which announced the acquisition January 8, occurred last summer, but talks turned serious only over the last few months.

‘We had been talking to a lot of people interested in our [multimedia crafts] category: people on the software side, people in the materials business, but no real marketing powerhouses like Mattel. We consider ourselves a marketing-driven company,’ she says. ‘The more people we met there who we liked, [the more it] just made us feel like we should really do this.

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