Christopher Keenan, EVP of content production at Mattel, wants to create a different type of short-form content for brands like American Girl, Barbie, and Hot Wheels. "I want to break new ground," he told Search Marketing Daily. "Everyone at Tongal loves a challenge and I have lots to bring them."
Breaking new ground took center stage during the first discussion with Tongal creative executives since inking a multiyear agreement to produce short-form content for Mattel Creation, which the toy manufacturer formed to bring content production under one umbrella.
Ironically, the move comes during a time when the company said it would conduct a media agency review.
Mattel produces a ton of content from long-form to direct–to-consumer movies, but the company chose to partner with Tongal for its enormous talent pool. "They're an aggregator of talent, a trusted resource, and help us to expand on our talent pool to increase efficiencies, so we can invest more in content," Keenan said.
Keenan estimates that Mattel's production roster has likely increased by 50% from 2015, in that the company will take some of its key brands into episodic series. About six properties will benefit from the relationship in the first year.
Mattel will soon launch Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures -- about twenty-six 22-minute episodes; and Dreamtopia, fifty-two 11-minute episodes. Historically, Mattel has done about one to two direct-to-consumer movies annually. This increase in episodic content represents a "huge leap" for the company, he said. That doesn't include the new series for Polly Pocket, and new content for American Girl.
Tongal will help to bring all this in line with short-form video, mostly digital, "but you never know," he said. "We may find a way to broadcast the content as well."
When asked how Keenan plans to measure success, he said the key performance indicators vary by platform. Historically, it was easy to track success through broadcast ratings. Now it become increasingly challenging as audience continue to splinter, especially when it comes to children. He said Mattel will look at downloads and purchases, but also social media and extract data from different sources through chatter and buzz. Online reviews and comments will also play a role.
Tongal pioneered a model for creating content, powered by a global network of 120,000 professional creatives and a proprietary development platform. The first project produced under the partnership will become a behind-the-scenes special to complement the Amazon Original Special An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win. The behind-the-scenes special will premiere on Amazon Prime Video in November.