Primary File

Mattel, Inc.: Lead Contamination in Chinese-Manufactured Toys

Vahrenwald, J. and O’Rourke, J. S. (Editor)
February 12, 2018
Asia - Pacific
Strategy & General Management
11 pages
incident, recall, lead paint, informing customers, media
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.68)
Average rating: 

In July 2007, a European toy retailer discovered lead paint on a Mattel toy manufactured in China. The incident forced Mattel to shut down production at the plant responsible for making the toy and issue a recall of nearly 1.5 million toys contaminated with lead paint. Just weeks later, Mattel was forced to issue a second recall of Chinese-manufactured toys, this time involving over 18 million toys. The Chinese contractors that manufactured the recalled toys were among Mattel’s most trusted. Both manufacturers, however, used paint from suppliers that Mattel had not certified as safe. In addressing the backlash that the recalls caused, Mattel was faced with the task of informing customers and notifying the media about the recalls. Finally, Mattel must weigh the costs and benefits of manufacturing in China. 11 pp. Case # 08-09 (2008)

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. To depict a case in which a corporation has to act quickly and effectively to fend off the fallout from a recall;
  2. To encourage Corporations to carefully examine the companies with which they contract and the actions taken by subcontractors;
  3. To demonstrate the necessity of developing methods to prevent similar public health scares in the future.