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New additions from Mattel include Matchbox vehicles



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First responders and other essential workers continue to get the hero treatment in the latest wave of Mattel toys depicting front-line personnel in the coronavirus pandemic.

A new fleet of Matchbox vehicles, Mega Construx building sets and a special edition of the card game UNO, available for preorder, all honor medical professionals, first responders and other essential personnel including grocery and food workers.

The Matchbox #ThankYouHeroes Frontline Heroes Vehicles Gift Set, selling for $20, has an ambulance, garbage truck, grocery delivery van, news helicopter, mobile hospital, package delivery van and police car.

Two different Mega Construx #ThankYouHeroes Building Sets, selling at $20 each, will be available: the first comes with a police cruiser, delivery cart and medical lab, and five action figures (police officer, scientist, two EMTs and an ambulance driver). The second set has a food delivery truck and kitchen, and three action figures (firefighter, cook and food delivery worker).

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The new cards in the UNO #ThankYouHeroes Tin, selling for $10, feature Mattel characters including Barbie as a scientist and He-Man as a grocery delivery worker.

These new toys join the Fisher-Price action figures and Little People figurines starring medical personnel, grocery workers and delivery drivers introduced last month. Orders are going through through May 31 at MattelPlayroom.com/ThankYouHeroes. The toy maker confirmed that $15 from each sale of the Matchbox and Mega Construx products will be donated to #FirstRespondersFirst, as will $8 from each UNO sale. Items are expected to ship to consumers by Dec. 31.

#FirstRespondersFirst is an effort to support health care first responders started last month by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, behavior change technology company Thrive Global and the CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of talent firm the Creative Arts Agency,

The pandemic-inspired toys are part of Mattel’s “Play it Forward” campaign. “The intent … is really about leveraging these iconic brands to drive awareness and essentially give back to important causes,” said Richard Dickson, Mattel’s president and chief operating officer.

Toys can be used to help create conversations with children about the ongoing crisis, he says. Immortalizing first-responders and essential workers with toy vehicles and action figures sends the message that “heroes do not just have to wear capes. They are every day and all around us,” Dickson said. 

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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