Mattel’s lawyers kick superfans off YouTube and Instragram

Originally published at: Mattel's lawyers kick superfans off YouTube and Instragram | Boing Boing


I just threw my slinky in the trash.


Most other large consumer goods corporations learned years ago not to let in-house counsel anywhere near decision-making on social media issues unless there were clear cases of defamation or trademark infringement involved. Mattel’s lawyers just screwed the company royally.

Mattel’s executives still have time to salvage this. First, they should use their corporate clout to get YouTube to reverse the ban; second, they should announce that the lawyers involved were either fired or re-assigned to HR scutwork; third, they should issue a groveling apology to the fans who were affected.


Don’t know all the details, but Andy has his channel back.


“Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.”


PR: “This YouTuber just got our products in front of a million interested eyeballs. “

Legal: “Let’s get them banned!”


So, why do executives of these large companies have such contempt and even hate for their fans? It’s not just Mattel, it is becoming hard to name a large corporation with a large fan base product that doesn’t seem to be intent on insulting, ridiculing, and pissing off their fandoms.


Mattel has always been a shite company to work for, so this isn’t surprising.


Did it spring back out?




reminds me of when I was hounded by Van’s lawyers for trying to sell a pair of sneakers decorated for their sneaker decorating contest.

“Where did you get the sneakers? You are causing our licensed distributors to break their agreement by selling these on eBay, and so you are also in violation of our agreement.” (seriously, they attempted to 3rd party me on this).

“I got the sneakers from you –– you gave them to me for your own stupid contest”

“Hey Vans marketing department –– did you know your lawyers are doing this - forwards emails”

" Vans Help @VansHelp
Replying to [@lavardera @VFCorp @VANS_66 ]
Please DM for assistance."


So how did it play out? Enquiring minds want to know!


I sold the fucking shoes and the lawyers got lost.

And the idiots in marketing got to figure out why the idiots in legal were harassing the contestants in their marketing contest.


Is that because they weren’t working together as a team?


I can’t stand Retroblasting - but he is mostly right in this one.

Mattel has had a couple bad PR step with collectors lately. And they aren’t nearly as active with the fan base as Hasbro is.

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why do executives of these large companies have such contempt and even hate for their fans?

I don’t think they hate their fans because I think the very concept of “fans” is foreign to their thought processes. Whether “they” be CEO’s or lawyers, they share the obsessive notion that any use of their precious Intellectual Property™ must produce immediate, measurable cash flow into the Corporation. If these reviewers paid Mattel $50 each time they reviewed a product, they probably wouldn’t mind. Though come to think of it they’d want a reviewer to first pay Mattel a fee for the privilege of paying Mattel to review their products.


You’re not wrong. Turns out Mattel’s current. CEO, Ynon Kreiz, is a life-time media guy, not a toy guy. And not just any media, but (IMO: shit) properties such as Big Brother and Deal or No Deal.

No wonder the company doesn’t understand toys, fandom, and the value of free advertising. He’s spent most of his career jealously guarding ephemeral properties from IP theft and copyright infringement, and not building a loyal base of tangible product consumers

Oh, and the most recent big announcement from Mattel is the Barbie Movie. Which I am hoping will be like the web series. I enjoyed watching that with the kit.


Who needs malevolent AI when corporate lawyers and CEOs already do such a perfect job of acting like heartless, unthinking robots who are incapable of understanding human behavior?


People make the mistake of assuming corporations are monoliths, acting in unison toward a common goal. Thus we apply single agency to them and try to interpret their behavior in that light. However that isn’t how they work. They are a collection of departments and people with competing goals who don’t always talk to each other.

In this case, some entry level legal counsel was probably tasked with “defending our trademarks” or whatever. In their zeal, perhaps they learned about the Strike tool in YouTube and started filing them. They were doing their one job to the best of their ability and are unaware of larger consequences. They are not a PR, Brand Management, Fan Relations, Marketing, or Social Media person. They are a legal intern (or whatever) trying to do a bang-up job on the task assigned.

The scenario above is invented (I have no idea of the details of what happened here) but the point is that something like this is probably what happened because companies are not monoliths. They do stupid things all the time simply because the left and right hands don’t talk to each other much.