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What Mattel’s Content Teaches Us About Reusing Digital Assets

By July 21st, 2022Blog

Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever re-watched old cartoons from your childhood just to remember earlier times, or if you still have a box of your old toys because you hope one day your little ones are going to play with them, too.

Mattel, the toy company responsible for Barbie and other timeless toy brands, is counting on those feelings as they relaunch three old toy lines from more than 40 years ago, including Major Matt Mason, Big Jim, and Pulsar.

Of course, it’s not the first time they’ve done something like this. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe have received similar treatments over the years, with new toys and cartoons on Netflix. 

Just last week, Mattel posted a He-Man commercial mashup on their social media accounts using clips from the 80s and early 2000s, all to promote the brand’s move into the metaverse with Masters of the Universe NFTs. It’s brilliant, in that it taps into the nostalgia of older buyers (parents) while showing the brand’s evolution for kids today.

They’ve done it again with this new relaunch. Check out how they used old clips to showcase the new Big Jim, Pulsar and Major Matt Mason toys on Instagram.

The lesson here is simple: the digital assets you’ve safely stored away could still have real value for your business.

Digital Asset Management and Content Reuse

Mattel’s story isn’t the same for every company. They have decades of history making some of the most historic and recognized toy brands in the world. But their approach to content reuse is something all organizations can learn from.

It really starts with your digital asset management platform.

Once marketers have a campaign in mind, their first move shouldn’t be to request a new batch of content. Taking a page out of Mattel’s book means starting with a look into your existing library for assets you can reuse in creative ways.

Understanding your buyers and what content they engage with will help you here. Insights from your DAM should provide direction on what existing content you have that resonates with your buyers.

From there, hand those assets over to your creative team and let them run wild. With an understanding of what content works, they can either repurpose the existing assets into new content, or take direction from those assets to inspire new designs.

If you’re a toy company like Mattel, the result may be a nostalgia-filled creative campaign that touches the hearts of older buyers while inspiring younger audiences. For others, it might be an optimized asset that tells a meaningful story to the buyer that turns into a sale.

Get inspired by exciting content reuse campaigns from leading brands

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Barriers to Content Reuse

Not all DAMs are created equal, and not all assets are easy to find. Reusing content isn’t always straightforward, thanks to some common barriers.

No Tools to Help

Depending on what industry you’re in and how long your company has been in business, you might have anywhere from a few thousand to over a million assets in your library. If you don’t have a DAM at that point, you might want to read our blog on when to start looking for a digital asset management platform.

Content reuse can be hard without the proper tools to:

  • Show you what’s in the library
  • Help you find the content
  • Tell you what’s worked historically
  • Share with your creative teams

Without technology, you’re going to be left guessing what assets you should use, when and where. You’re also going to miss a lot of great content simply because you have no way to really find it, or even know it’s there in the first place.

Outdated / Legacy Digital Asset Management Platforms

Older DAM platforms were never designed to facilitate content reuse. These legacy DAMs are primarily content archives that allow you to store and find content well enough, but they don’t provide the insights you need to decide what assets should be reused, or how.

Think of it this way; when any retailer brings an old product line back to market, they never do it on a whim. They look at various data points, including sales, to determine if that product line is worth relaunching, or if they should go another direction. So then, why treat your digital assets any different? You need a DAM platform that can provide you with those data points, and empower you to make good decisions around content reuse.

Poor Metadata & Keywords

Metadata and keywords are vital in DAM to help users find the content they’re looking for. It doesn’t matter what technology you have in place, it cannot overcome poor metadata when it comes to surfacing content.

If your DAM users are struggling to find the content they’re looking for, or can’t filter the library appropriately to narrow their search, it may be time for a metadata audit and new schema to be implemented (no easy task, we know). There are companies that can help with this specifically, however some vendors like Tenovos also provide expert support to help with these types of issues. Either way you go, your content reuse strategy can’t get off the ground until your metadata is in a good place.

Lack of Direction & Planning

Ok, so you’ve got the tools to help you store your assets, the metadata is attached to them so you can find the content you’re looking for… but how do you know what to make and where to put it?

Once again, you need a modern DAM to help. Too often companies publish content into a black hole. Once the assets leave the DAM they have no way to know where it really goes or how it’s used. But with modern DAMs like Tenovos, you can track those assets.

What does that mean for reuse?

Digital asset management platforms should tell you where your content lives, so you can quickly find gaps in your publishing, or see that one asset has been reused already while others have been left to collect dust. This allows for clear planning and direction to the creative team, giving them the information they need to make the right content for the right channels.

Rights & Licensing Issues

Reusing content does come with the risk that you may use assets you no longer own the rights to, or in a way that violates any licensing agreements you may have. This can sometimes lead to teams deciding it’s just easier to make something new rather than risk the financial fallout (and embarrassment) of a copyright infringement.

That’s why creative teams need digital rights management functionalities directly within their DAM. Your DAM should tell you what assets you have the right to use, and how you can use it. It should also alert you to any expiring license agreements so you can decide whether or not to renew them, knowing you may want to reuse that content in the future. These are features modern DAM platforms have built-in, but that are lacking in older tools.

The Future of Digital Asset Management

It may seem a little weird, but in a way the future of DAM is all about making better use of assets from the past. Companies today just don’t have the resources to make new content all the time… and as Mattel is proving, not all buyers even want that. Sometimes, the older stuff is best!

If your DAM isn’t equipped to help you reuse content effectively, it may be time to look for help elsewhere. Tenovos is a modern, data-first DAM platform built to help you make the best use of your content to drive value for your business. Read our Vendor Evaluation Guide to learn more.