Mattel has revamped an old Fisher Price construction toy Construx and is positioning it as its answer to Lego and K’Nex.
The updated toy, withdrawn from the UK in 1989, was launched in the US in 1996 and will be rolled out in the UK over the year. It includes eight different models, ranging from a helicopter to a dinosaur and two kits for free building.
The launch will be supported by a heavyweight TV advertising campaign from Mattel’s incumbent agency, Ogilvy & Mather, and a roadshow.
Richard Dewhirst, Mattel senior product manager boys’ toys, says: “Construx looks more realistic than K’Nex. The finished object looks like a real toy.”
According to Lego head of marketing Michael Moore, the construction market is worth about 100m annually.
He claims Lego has nearly 70 per cent of it, with the rest divided between K’Nex, Meccano and Megablocks.
Moore says: “As it’s a Mattel launch, I am sure it will grab some market share – but this does not worry me too much.”
Lego recently announced it is launching its first construction kit for girls. Mattel says it has no plans to follow suit.