Mattel revs up for Hot Wheels’ 40th

Kids and parents can go online together and track down a mysterious ring of car thieves for chances to win.

Mattel Canada put the pedal to the metal to celebrate Hot Wheels’ 40th anniversary, launching a new interactive online contest and a new widget as part of its integrated marketing campaign marking the brand’s milestone.

‘Generations have grown up playing with, trading and collecting Hot Wheels cars,’ says Hot Wheels brand manager for Mattel Canada Kathleen O’Hara. ‘Mattel is proud to be a part of these memories, and we’re excited to share our celebration with consumers through our interactive License 2 Play program.’

O’Hara tells MiC: ‘We wanted to create something for Canadian kids that would resonate with them, something that is unique.’ So, for the next six months, players can race over to to try to solve mysteries involving ‘the Hot Wheels 6,’ a fictional ring of car thieves, to win various prizes and earn their ‘License 2 Play,’ a Hot Wheels designation designed to open kids up to new Hot Wheels opportunities in 2009. The contest also aims to entice nostalgic parents to play along for the chance of winning their own hot wheels – a new car.

Developed by Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, Carat Canada and Mosaic, television ads prompting kids to go online to check out the contests will break across the country on April 21 and run until August. Print ads targeted to adults will appear in national magazines, and an advertorial will be distributed in the May 5 edition of Maclean’s.

As well, kids and parents can take a detour from the contest to download the new Hot Wheels Widget, an interactive download they can park on their desktops to give them up-to-the-minute Hot Wheel news.

Mattel originally developed the Hot Wheels 40th Anniversary campaign with GCI Group and Ryan Partnership Canada. The campaign kicked off with a historical Hot Wheels exhibit presented at the 2008 Canadian International Auto Show. It will keep its engines running throughout the summer with the ‘Hot Wheels Road Trip,’ which will run through Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and BC, stopping to participate in community events.