Mattel plans to trump Hasbro’s VideoNow

Barbie manufacturer Mattel is set to clash with rival Hasbro when it launches a children’s personal media player in the UK later this month. It will be Mattel’s first foray into the consumer electronics market.

Called Juice Box, the media player will rival Hasbro’s VideoNow machine, which launched at the end of July.

While VideoNow was designed for children aged six to 12 years old and only plays specially created discs (called PVDs), Juice Box, aimed at eight- to 12-year-olds, claims to play pre-recorded videos, store digital photos and play MP3 music files. Juice Box will be priced at about £89.99.

The launch will be supported by a television advertising campaign that will break in November. Ogilvy & Mather is Mattel’s creative agency, while MindShare handles its media planning and buying.

A spokeswoman says the player fills an “untapped niche” because it plays MP3s as well as videos. She adds: “Juice Box is aimed at children who are interested in iPods but whose parents don’t want to pay iPod prices.”

Hasbro launched an upgraded colour display version of its VideoNow player in the UK on July 28. The device was one of the top three selling children’s products in the US last year despite only having a black-and-white screen. A spokesman claims that sales in the UK have been “astronomical” and are six times ahead of schedule.

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