Hot Wheels gets a fresh paint job with multi-year brand campaign
- Mattel is launching a multi-year, multichannel brand campaign for its Hot Wheels line of car toys called "Challenge Accepted," per a press release. The effort, created with the agency BBDO San Francisco, rolls out with a TV ad airing on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," a program chosen because of its co-viewing audience of parents and children.
- The 60-second kick-off spot focuses on a mother and son who pull off daring stunts in a muscle car, only to pull back at the end and reveal they're really playing with a Hot Wheels set. The full campaign includes 30- and 60-second TV commercials, along with cinema ads, a social media push and digital video. The cinema ads will run 130 seconds, according to Ad Age.
- With Challenge Accepted, Mattel intends to better communicate the benefits of Hot Wheels directly to parents and specifically how the toys help kids build important life skills and confidence, the release said.
Mattel has already seen success in digitally-revamping the marketing strategy around its popular Barbie brand, and clearly wants to import some of the lessons learned there to Hot Wheels. While Challenge Accepted kicks off with a TV spot, the campaign is also putting a lot of fuel behind social media and digital video hosted on YouTube, a platform where young kids are more frequently spending their time.
With the Barbie pivot, Mattel started pulling away from TV to instead focus on digital interactivity and leveraging tactics like influencer marketing on YouTube, along with building an Instagram presence. For toy brands, TV was once a safe bet for reaching a relevant audience of young children, who would tune in either after school or for programming blocks like Saturday morning cartoons. The rise of digital platforms and YouTube, in particular, has led some to reconsider their outreach.
Hasbro, one of Mattel's main toy competitors, opted for YouTube over TV in launching its Hanazuki line of products and its tie-in animated series earlier this year. Writing in a case study for Think With Google at the time, Victor Lee, SVP of global digital marketing at Hasbro, noted that brands can't depend on consumers being in their living rooms watching TV at certain times anymore, and therefore must be consistently present and more accommodating to a binge-watch model.