Since debuting in 1968, more than 6 billion Hot Wheels cars have been produced, making it the #1 selling toy in the world.
Before Ken & Barbie there was…Elliot and Ruth?
Here are 7 Amazing Mattel Facts:
- The birth of Barbie: In the
mid-50’s, the Handler’s were making novelty items like cap guns and ukuleles. One night while watching their daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls, Ruth came up with a brilliant idea. Why not create a three dimensionaldoll that’s more true to life? But her husband was dead-set against it.
- Barbie’s boobs: Elliot told his wife, “No mother is going to buy her daughter a doll with breasts!” Fortunately, Ruth won the argument and Mattel went on to sell more than a billion Barbie dolls. In
factthe company claims a new one is sold somewhere in the world every three seconds.
- What’s in a name?: As you may have surmised from above, Barbie got her name from the Handler’s daughter. And when her boyfriend was introduced two years later, he was named after their son, Ken.
- The real Barbie: She is still alive but sadly, Ken died in 1994 of a brain tumor.
- Hot idea: Ruth is responsible for Barbie but Elliot came up with an idea that was an even better seller—Hot Wheels. In 2018, the four billionth car rolled off the assembly line and it appears
there’sno stop signs ahead.
- Why it worked: In the late
1960’s, tiny die-cast cars based on existing automobiles were all the rage. Elliot correctly sensed that kids would prefer designer hot rods that moved much quicker than the competition. He also was a first-class marketer and talked ABC network into airing a Hot Wheels cartoon series. But it didn’t last long. The show was cancelledafter competitors complained it was basically one big commercial.
- Hot Wheels can bring cold cash: If your car has thin red lines painted around its tires, it might bring you a few extra bucks. There was only a limited number of these made and certain mint-condition models sell for thousands of dollars.
Elliot and Ruth made sure Ken and Barbie never aged but sadly, that only works on dolls. Both are now gone but their legacy will no doubt live on for generations.