David S. Rielly
MATCHBOX // Case Study

“On A Mission”
ROLE: Senior Copywriter + Creative Strategy Lead + Creative Director

Having recently passed its 60th Anniversary, Mattel’s Matchbox is a globally iconic and beloved boy brand. Unfortunately, Matchbox’s identity in the marketplace had become fractured and diluted over time, and earnings were continuing to erode when I first came onboard in 2010.

To stand out against dominant Hot Wheels’s stranglehold on speed and competition, our new brand strategy centered around empowering boys to be the hero of any adventure they could imagine… and communicating to boys and Moms that Matchbox had a vehicle for every one of those missions.

With my new tagline “On a Mission” now on all Matchbox packaging around the world and our comprehensive brand book in place, creative that paid off the brand vision soon followed. I wrote a series of TV spots for innovation-driven new toy lines like Cliffhanger and Big Boots, as well as anthems that celebrated the brand’s core heritage like the live-action 60th Anniversary spot. It’s not an easy thing to steer a ship the size of Matchbox, but after five-plus years on the brand the team was thrilled to hear that earnings are finally inching back up and the Matchbox mission to “transform childhood awe into awesome” back on track.

60th Anniversary

Big Boots


The launch of a new toy brand means communicating with Moms and Dads as much as Kids, and we made sure this interactive website had plenty for both demos to do.