Adobe Summit: Wednesday General Session- Donny Osmond and Mattel

It’s the second day of Adobe Summit and the second general session focused more on the personal side of the Experience Wave Adobe highlighted on the first day.
John Mellor, VP Strategy and Business Development, began the session. He introduced Donny Osmond to start.
John and the audience sang a song from Mulan.  The concept: we all crave experiences.  In order to give those experiences to our customers, we have to get outside our comfort zone.
Data is just a piece of the puzzle.  We all “love’ data.  Some are actual data nerds.  But data alone is useless without context and meaning. Data is sterile, without emotion.  It’s our job to add meaning.  The human element, the story, adds the experience.
Example: Eiffel tower. 81 stores, 18,000 parts. 2.5 million rivets.  Once you’ve been to the Eiffel Tower then you have a story.  You remember who you were with, how crowded it was, etc.
It’s about Data Driven Storytelling.
Some key stats
Rate your Adobe Marketing Cloud Skills

  • rookie: 27%
  • I’ve got skills 43%
  • All Start 30%

How quickly does your organization adapt to the pace of change

  • We’re lost 20%
  • Slow and steady 40+%
  • On fire: the rest

The stats tell a story. We have a lot to do. There are a lot of challenges getting everyone on board.  But we are optimistic about getting the job done.

Mattel President and COO Richard Dixon

Reinventing the creations company. Mattel’s story.
Brands; Barbie, American Girl, How Wheels, Fisher Price, etc.
1976: Donny Osmond Fashion Doll. Big hit
2016: Abbie Wambach (US Soccer player)
Mattel has a story in progress in three chapters. It’s a transformation in progress.

Chapter One: History

Founders in 1945 thought of themselves as a creations company. The founders were designers and inventers. They came from a California garage.  The big thing to come from the garage wasn’t a toy, it was a mind set about bold risks.  They transformed a simple paper fashion doll  into Barbie. They transformed the simple car into Hot Wheels.
The founders bet everything on a new medium, television. They engaged kids with brands long before anyone talked about content strategy.  They formed a partnership with Walt Disney.  In that time, they grew but retained the creator mind set. Think of:

  • Magic 8 ball
  • Cabbage patch dolls
  • Othello
  • etc.

Btu at one point, they lost track of everything. Play was lost and imprisoned in child development.  Everyone was competing for time and the world evolved into an omni-channel universe.  Mattel repeated what worked instead of fearing the status quo.
Mattel suffered. The brands lost relevance.

Chapter Two: Reinvention

The roadmap

  • Question evertyhing
  • Embrace uncertainty
  • Put results before process
  • Breakdown process to collaborate

First up Barbie. It was the biggest brand challenge.  Barbie had lost it’s purpose. They listened to Mom, kids, and culture. Girls needed to love Barbie and Mom’s needed to like her again. Key changes:

  • Diversity revolution. 20 new Barbies
  • Flexible foot (It liberated Barbie from high heels)
  • Talk back Barbie. Make her talk
  • Reframed the conversation:
    • Showed key commercial with a girl  as professor.
    • With a girl as the vet
    • Soccer coach
    • Exec
    • Museum guide
    • then segway to a girl playing the same situations with Barbies


  • 50 M views
  • 500M engagements on FB and twitter
  • 81% positive reactions
  • Trending topic on Yahoo with the new body types
  • and lots of important people tweeting they like it


Chapter Three

Now talking about the toy box.

  • They re-invented the View Master. In partnership with Google, they created a virtual reality learning tool.
  • Fisher Price re-invented. Code-a-pillar.  It can be re-assembled.
  • New high chair that can be easily disassembled and cleaned in the dishwasher
  • Thingmaker reinvented.  It’s now a 3D machine. You can create and print a range of items.
  • Hot Wheels: Star wards storm trooper car,  Encouraging boys to be more imaginative.  Create on your own. Kits with lots of hacks (OK I wish I had that growing up)

Next big leap?
Will re-establish themselves as a creations company. It’s a child development company like no others.  Focused on pre-teen.


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Michael Porter

Mike Porter leads the Strategic Advisors team for Perficient. He has more than 21 years of experience helping organizations with technology and digital transformation, specifically around solving business problems related to CRM and data.

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