Mattel CEO's Online Video Apology For Millions Of Toy Recalls

Mattel CEO Bob Eckert posted a video apology for the millions of lead-tainted and faulty magnet toys they were forced to recall. In it, he apologizes, has himself and his company take full responsibility for the issue, and outlines specific new steps to insure product quality and step up inspection processes. This is the best corporate apology video we’ve ever seen.

Our trust is restored in Mattel, but what of other manufacturers? As more manufacturers start to look more closely at their supplies and production process, they’re going to discover more problems and defects that were flourishing right under their noses. We expect more recalls to come.

Message From Chairman & CEO [Mattel]

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  1. tozmervo says:

    Is it so much to ask for a CEO that doesn’t look exactly like ever.other.CEO?

  2. weave says:

    Shouldn’t he be offing himself right about now or something?

  3. FullFlava says:

    Wow. That was a great video. As much as I love all the muckraking around here, I think I like it even more when we get to see those rare instances of a company doing something right.

  4. weave says:

    Regarding the unannounced inspections at vendor facilities, how does an American company just show up unannounced at some Chinese plant in the middle of that country?

  5. Mills says:

    @weave: It’s near impossible to have a surprise audit of a factory in China. Sweatshops that produce clothing for Walmart have passed audits and inspections. Usually, someone will have been warned that the inspectors are coming, and they’ll clean the place up for a day, then get back to hitting their quotas by any means possible as soon as the inspection team is gone.

    I’d be more trusting of the safety of Mattel toys if they’d promised the testing of the toys was to be done in the United States, and not by anyone involved in the manufacturing process.

  6. crnk says:

    Great video of a company being great and accepting responsibility.

  7. Chicago7 says:

    The question is: Why didn’t you have these safeguards established in the first place? Is it new to any company that lead paint is taboo? Doesn’t anybody watch “This Old House”, etc. where they have guys in radiation suits taking lead paint off the walls?

    It’s BS to say “We’re doing everything we can now”, when it SHOULD have been done all along.

    This is just another example of big companies being isolated from their suppliers, because the suppliers are overseas and largely unregulated.

  8. SOhp101 says:

    @Chicago7: You’re completely right, but at least Mattel is owning up to their mistakes.

    Unlike other companies when Mattel found out this was happening they immediately apologized and started the recall. There was little question (that I know) of “how much will this cost us?” Right when they found this out he immediately apologized in a press release and a massive recall was issued. It wasn’t even one of those wimpy politically correct w/o actually admitting fault type of apologies.

  9. lestat730 says:

    this guy speaks like a presidential candidate and it disturbs me…

  10. cde says:

    This guy looks like a ken doll for some reason….

  11. Maurs says:

    Good apology, but he really appears to be self-conscious of his hands throughout the whole video.

  12. Namilia says:

    @Maurs: He was steepling them a lot. My sociology instructor in college said that that is nonverbal communication that shows control and power, much like how a teacher is over the students or a priest/pastor/rabbi is over their congregation. But he sure did move them a lot.

    A good apology, but I think it’d be better if the toys were not only inspected in the United States, they were also produced inside the country so that random checks would be more effective. Like has already been said, the vender’ll clean up for a day while the inspectors are there then go back to meeting quotas however they can.

  13. erica.blog says:

    It’s kind of hard to hide vats full of lead-contaminated paint, even if you know a day in advance that you’re having a surprise inspection. And the fact that the finished products are going to be inspected before being sold means that any attempt to bend the rules should be caught. This type of multi-level inspections is the most effective possible; yes they should have had it before, but at least they’ll have it now.

    I was a bit more disappointed by the magnet apology. They admit it is a design problem (toys are made so magnets can fall out), but their only solution is “better design” — that’s a little vague. It is also something that would be difficult to delve into for your corporate apology video, however.

    Overall, however: thank you Mattel.

  14. hoo_foot says:

    If Mattel truly cared about it’s customers, it wouldn’t be outsourcing its manufacturing to China. Thanks for the apology Bob, but I’ll stick with the safer option and buy Legos instead of Mattel products this Christmas.

  15. gibbersome says:

    Good apology, they’ve admitted their mistake and are working towards improving their standards. Toys are being made in China to keep the prices competitive, I don’t think they have much choice unless people in the U.S. can live off 20 cents a day.

  16. Chicago7 says:

    I wonder how many parents would say “I’ll pay the extra buck or two to make sure my kid’s toys don’t have lead in them and/or are inspected for safety”

  17. erica.blog says:

    @Chicago7: Many say that, few follow through. In the store, parents are looking at price tags, not quality standards.

    Personally, I try to buy quality, not price. I’m lucky to be able to “splurge” though… there’s some sad social commentary there, I’m sure. And it’s extremely annoying when we walk by a Dollar Store and there are neon plastic toy things out front and my toddler shrieks that she wants it now — ever tried explaining “that toy is lethal/cheap/poisonous/stupid” to a three-year-old? She still doesn’t get the crap, but *I* get headaches from the complaints :-)

  18. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Chicago7 – My sentiments exactly. An after the fact apology for such gross negligence doesn’t mean squat. I’m sure the kids who have already suffered lead poisoning and learning disabilities from playing with these toxic toys are really impressed. -rolls eyes-

    Mattel is a multi BILLION dollar company — they can and should have had their products properly inspected (and if necessary, produced in a country other than China, a country that takes product safety as seriously as we do here in the US). There is absolutely no excuse for this and I won’t ever buy Mattel products again.

  19. Chicago7 says:

    @erica.blog:

    I’m thinking ALL toys should be a couple dollars more, if that’s what it takes to ensure that these toys are tested before they go out into stores.

    Mattel sounds like they are going to do this NOW. I think they should have had a better handle on their suppliers BEFORE the trouble. If that’s impossible, because it’s China, maybe they need to move production back to the States or Canada or even Mexico.

  20. Chicago7 says:

    Kids have too many dang toys, anyway!

    Get off my lawn, you darn kids! :D

  21. CHUBBYMIKE says:

    I do like the fact that he actually owned up to the faults and didn’t just blame the the manufacturers. But I find it hard to believe that one can “surprise” a large factory in the mountains in China. If safety were truly of the utmost concern, he’d move the manufacturing into the US, but we all know that will never happen.