EL SEGUNDO, CA: Mattel has hired Golin to handle media relations for its Barbie and Hot Wheels brands in the US.
Ketchum was the incumbent on both accounts.
Golin won the Barbie and Hot Wheels business following a competitive bidding process, said Michelle Chidoni, communications director for Mattel and Fisher-Price in North America.
"We had a longstanding relationship with Ketchum for 15-plus years," she said. "The Barbie brand is in a place where it needs new, innovative, and fresh thinking, and we were incredibly excited about the team and the talent that Golin put forth. Their creative thinking and ideas were really focused on bringing Barbie into the future."
Golin representatives declined to comment.
The agency’s contract will run through this year, but Chidoni said there may be opportunities for Barbie projects with other firms.
Ketchum won a Bronze Lion at last year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for its work on Barbie’s #Unapologetic campaign, along with Weber Shandwick, HL Group, and Starcom.
Representatives from Ketchum did not respond to inquiries for comment.
Weber, Golin’s sister agency at Interpublic Group, was previously the creative and digital partner for the Barbie brand and created the #Unapologetic push. Chidoni said the agency is not working on the Barbie business, but it helps Mattel with other Fisher-Price brands.
"As we look to different projects, they may end up working again on Barbie, but right now there is nothing on the table with Barbie and Weber," she explained.
Barbie turned 56 years old this week, and the brand took to Twitter to get fans involved in the birthday.
Mattel chairman and CEO Bryan Stockton resigned in January after the company saw a 6% sales slide over the Christmas period. The toy maker replaced Stockton with board member and former Pepsi CEO Christopher Sinclair in the interim.
Last September, Mattel told PRWeek it was evaluating its internal communications structure following the departure of corporate affairs VP Dallas Lawrence, who joined tech company the Rubicon Project. Alex Clark, director of corporate communications at Mattel, said at the time that the assessment was unrelated to Lawrence’s exit.
In addition to Barbie and Hot Wheels, Mattel's toy brands include Matchbox and Monster High.
This story was updated to correct the length of the relationship between Mattel and Ketchum. It was 15 years, not 25.