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As Jim Cramer celebrated his 60th birthday on Tuesday, he reflected on how much the toy industry has changed since he was a little boy. Gone are the days of a child playing on a wooden rocking horse, as they now they prefer to watch Disney movies and play video games. Consumer preferences have evolved along with the types of toys sold.
Hasbro, the maker of Transformers, Nerf, Play-Doh, My Little Pony and superhero action figures like Superman, hit an all-time high on Tuesday after reporting a fabulous quarter on Monday.
Meanwhile Mattel, the maker of Barbie, Fisher-Price toys, American Girl dolls and Hot Wheels, is bordering closely with its 52-week low and just reported hideous results.
What the heck happened? "Has My Little Pony suddenly become a carnivore and started devouring American Girl?" asked Cramer.
The key is with branded entertainment, which Hasbro has embraced. The toys it has represent merchandising for television and film franchises.
This is especially important, as millennials who grew up watching Nickelodeon and Disney are starting to have children, and these children want to buy a piece of their favorite movie or TV series.
Meanwhile, Mattel totally does not get it. It has instead focused on producing the best commercials and promotional strategies for shelf space. That approach would make sense if it were selling toothpaste or toilet paper, but not for toys.
"I think Hasbro remains a buy at these levels, while Mattel should be avoided," said the "Mad Money" host.
Hasbro has more rabbits in the hat, too, with blockbusters such as "The Avengers," "Jurassic World," "The Fantastic Four" and "Star Wars" movies that will boost toy sales further.
"How about Mattel? I like that the board of directors held the CEO accountable, but this increasingly feels like a stodgy, out of touch company," said Cramer.
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The "Mad Money" host warned not to be enticed by Mattel's 5.4 percent yields either. Though management claimed that the dividend was safe, it is possible that it will cut the dividend further down the road.
In the end, the toy business demands that content is king. Hasbro gets that, and is raking in the dough as a result. Meanwhile, Mattel continues to sit in the dark and push its product as though it were an ordinary bathroom item. Good luck with that, Mattel.