Hot Wheels drives bigger than life

Surely you remember Hot Wheels. When I was a kid, I spent many hours building race courses using those cool orange tracks, and finding every kind of real-life object that could serve as a ramp or jump object — even the family dog! As far as toys go, Hot Wheels was always magical. From the looks of things, that magic is still very much alive with kids today, thanks to continuing fresh advertising from the brand.

Here are some great Hot Wheels ads from the past couple years:

Hot Wheels for Real campaign

Recently Hot Wheels has been running a clever “Hot Wheels for Real” style ad campaign, including the use of larger-than-life posters that put real cars in the position of toys. Creative and memorable. Here are some of the better applications of that campaign:

Terrific application of the “Hot Wheels for Real” idea in Mexico

Another approach, this one produced in Colombia

This ad, part of a series, hails from the UK

Fearless at the 500

Now Hot Wheels has, quite literally, ramped things up even more. Shortly before the start of the 2011 Indianapolis 500 on May 29, Hot Wheels will send a life-size version of a Hot Wheels car down a giant custom-built ramp. At the end of a straightaway, it will attempt a new world-record jump by a four-wheel vehicle (trying to beat the current record of 301 feet). “It is a feat of engineering, and it’s a jaw-dropping sight when you see it,” said VP of Marketing Simon Waldron.

The stunt will be tied to a 30-minute Hot Wheels program airing on ABC the day of the race, the work of LA ad agency Mistress. The spot builds on a stylish and appropriate Area-51 style mythology, suggesting that there’s a testing facility “hidden for 43 years,” where all sorts of out-of-this-world driving takes place on huge Hot Wheels tracks. Great fun. Here’s a fun teaser video:

I just think it’s so much fun to see a great legacy product continue to keep the magic alive through powerful advertising. Best of luck to the team for the big stunt next weekend. I’ll be watching.

George Pytlik

George Pytlik has been involved in the advertising industry for over 30 years and designed his first website when the Internet was one year old. He was an internationally recognized speaker on advertising and branding and served on a number of communication committees at various times throughout his career, as well as writing a regular column for Marketing magazine.

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