Slap a few more shares on the Barbie as Mattel looks for cultural/commercial collision of knockout proportions
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With a portfolio that now includes (our) Margot Robbie and (my) Ryan Gosling, Mattel stock (MAT) is on the move.
As the fairly dormant toy-making machine behind what could literally become a licence to print money, the theatrical release of the live-action PG-13 flick “Barbie: The Movie” headlined by the afore-owned Margot Robbie (as Barbie) and Ryan Gosling (as Christian’s Ken), Mattel, as the blurb goes on its corporate website goes:
Engage consumers through our catalog of iconic brands, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, Fisher-Price®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends®, UNO® and MEGA®, as well as other popular intellectual properties that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies.
Our brands have been inspiring generations of consumers and have deep emotional connections with a large fan base of children everywhere.
Barbie is directed by the more ironic than irony, Greta Gerwig, and reportedly toyed with budget of circa US$100 million for production and probably that again for global marketing. Shares of Mattel are up 15% over the past month – comfortably more than an extra US$1bn market cap.
This is Gerwig on writing Barbie and being cool and associated with Noah Baumbach.
That’s done for both the S&P 500 and the stock price of arch-enemy, the Mr PotatoHead touting Hasbro, (which has done alright with a handy 7% rise).
For a little context, AI darling Nvidia (NVDA) is up 9% in MTD, Meta (META) – buoyed by Threads – has found 13%, and Apple (APPL) a mere 3.8%.
The movie is slated to hit theatres on July 21, and Robbie, Gosling, and the rest of the star-studded cast are currently out doing red carpet events to build anticipation.
Early reviews from the first LA screening of Barbie include gushing over my Ryan Gosling’s performance which some highly-paid critic described as “Oscar worthy.”
The 78-year-old toymaker appears to have struck share-price, cultural-relevance dynamite with its much discussed pastel flavoured toy porn. (Can I say that?) Should Barbie rake in the audience numbers and become the blockbuster Mattel is hoping for, other US stocks are set to enjoy the spotlight.
Five Below (FIVE), which is selling a slate of licensed Barbie merchandise, is already sitting pretty, according to analysts at Roth MKM.
Barbie could generate “enough buzz via social media and other avenues to drive incremental traffic to FIVE and incremental spend in the process,” Roth MKM analysts said in a note to clients.
The Barbie brand is more than just a toy — Barbie is the O.G. influencer.
Love her or hate her, Barbie is an iconic figure, recognisable across all generations, leaving a sometimes controversial hourglass impression on pop culture since her emergence in 1959.
Mattel’s mass investment into Barbie marketing is potentially fab news for FIVE, Roth MJM suggests.
David Bellinger, doing the hard yards on FIVE coverage, told clients his team has come across “more than 30 licensed Barbie items highlighted on Five Below’s website, mostly priced at $5 per item”.
Bellinger said he conservatively reckons any bump in traffic and attached spend for the store would be a “modest positive.”
Roth MKM has a buy rating on Five Below and a 12-month price target of $225, which would represent a 15% gain from Tuesday’s close in New York.
It’s not rocket science, the online retailer has historically enjoyed lovely bumps in the wake of new intellectual property, including the Disney smash hit animation about singing and ice and sisterly love and possibly LGBTQ sub-contextual messaging, “Frozen”.
“Barbie” will debut internationally on wide US release, July 21. Variety has it tracking for a US$80 million opening weekend.
Shares of Five Below are up in low double digits YTD.
Finally, someone ought to plug these numbers into the inflation panic machine. If Barbie moves from hit film to cultural phenomenon, then spendy US households going nuts is not going to please anyone at The Fed.