To celebrate Hot Wheels’ 50th anniversary, the brand wanted to launch a year’s worth of programming at Canada’s largest consumer automotive show.
The goal was to create a buzz-worthy, engaging program onsite at the Canadian International Autoshow (CIAS) in Toronto and to spread awareness beyond the event through various marketing channels. Success of the activation was measured through sales.
Given the nature of the event and reach of the brand, we had to create an event that would appeal to those who play with, and purchase, the brand:
- Boys, aged 4 – 12 years old
- Shopper moms
- Collectors of all ages
The partnership with CIAS provided a relevant, high-profile platform for Hot Wheels to engage and communicate with all three demographics nationwide.
Once the partnership with CIAS was established, our creative team wanted to captivate visitors’ imaginations, and stay true to the magic and creativity the Hot Wheels brand had generated over the last 50 years.
They began by looking at how we could best utilize the space available to ensure that it was engaging at every touchpoint for both adults and children. The team knew they had to build something truly larger-than-life in order to deliver exceptional business results for our client.
The result? A 32 feet X 8 feet Master Track Build with over 300 feet of track, featuring the CN Tower and Toronto skyline. The structure provided an opportunity for adults to relive the excitement of their childhood while inspiring kids to put their creativity to the test and build an expansive track network of their own. It also featured a 10 feet tall 3D centerpiece of the Hot Wheels 50th logo providing another great photo opportunity and brand visibility from every corner of the hall.
To kick off the CIAS, a kid’s rock band kicked off the celebrations with a rendition of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”, a fitting track for the program not purely due to its relevance to cars but also because it shared a birthday with the brand.The activation included a variety of other installations, including a kids play zone where children could build and play with their own die-cast cars, and a pop-up store where consumers could purchase a variety of Hot Wheels products. There were also life-size Hot Wheels cars scattered throughout the Autoshow including the 2012 Rip Rod, 1967 Camaro, and the Darth Vader Car. Three other vehicles (the 1966 Pontiac GTO, and the world record breaking Hot Wheels Buggy and Loop cars) were spread throughout the venue to offer additional exposure for the brand, and draw guests to the main footprint.
While the creative team certainly brought the client’s vision to life, the account team, was tasked with driving as much awareness and interest to the activation as possible.
Leveraging the Canadian International Autoshow’s promotional assets was key in expanding the scope of the program. With a story as compelling as the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic toy brands in the world, it was essential that the launch of the Canadian anniversary celebrations were heard through various mediums, countrywide. With lofty objectives to the program, the integrated nature of its execution is truly what made it stand out as a success for Mattel.
Out of home placements leading up to, and during, the show in some of Toronto’s most prominent locations led awareness of the partnership and program helping drive ticket sales but also building up Hot Wheels as the key attraction of the 2018 show.
Inclusion within the show’s TV spot offered expansive awareness to our target audience of parents. A 3-week rotation across the country’s most prominent channels meant Hot Wheels provided invaluable promotion, all included within the partnership.
Media coverage was seen as one of the most important aspects of the program in order to drive national awareness. CIAS produced and sent out an official press release in January 2018, calling out the partnership between the show and Hot Wheels. This offered initial buzz with many outlets already expressing interest in what was to come.
From there, a robust plan was built out where both CIAS and the T1 Agency did media outreach to ensure maximum reach and coverage. CIAS provided a dedicated pre-media day event that ensured full exclusivity to all media before they had access to the manufacturer displays. The event was hosted within the Hot Wheels activation space by Brand Manager, Akram Sharkawy and the Global VP of Design, Ted Wu. After the address, media were invited to photograph and interact with the various activation elements as well as interview both Akram and Ted. Both print and broadcast media from the country’s top outlets attended offering extensive coverage of the event.
Overall, the Hot Wheels’ 50th Anniversary Program led to exceptional results for our client. Due to the mutually-beneficial partnership with the Canadian International Autoshow, we received outstanding results in terms of coverage and impressions. Total impressions for the entire program amounted to 120 million across TV, Radio, OOH, XM and Social, and form revenue perspective, our client experienced 2.9% sales growth year-over-year in the GTA for the same period.