With 43 years of history, Mattel’s Hot Wheels brand has a huge following of passionate, loyal fans. But Mattel had a challenge many classic brands face: keeping the conversation fresh for longtime enthusiasts while adding new ones.

To jump-start this, Mattel’s Betsy Burkett and Gretchen de Castellane aimed big: a world-record-breaking stunt at the Indianapolis 500. The event featured heavy integration of social media, led to tons of buzz and created a culturally relevant moment for new and old Hot Wheels fans.

In their recent BlogWell case study, Burkett and de Castellane shared the details of how they made it all happen. A few of their big ideas:

  • Create great partnerships. Mattel had several outside partners for this event — including ABC, which broadcast the stunt. By leveraging media partners and the racing community — on top of its existing fan base — Mattel was able to reach a broader audience of new fans.
  • A little mystery helps keep the excitement building. Leading up to the stunt, Mattel kept the identity of its stunt driver a secret. This element gave eager fans something to explore for months before the event, and it also gave Mattel something to unveil after the stunt.
  • Point fans to a primary destination. With all of the conversations, content and platforms involved in something such as this, you need a home to which you can direct fans — not only to engage them now but also to be able to reach them again. For Mattel, Facebook was that destination, and the company used a “like-gating” strategy to convert visitors to fans.

Watch Burkett and de Castellane’s case study. Slides are available.

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9 responses to “Andy's Answers: How Mattel used social media to build excitement around Hot Wheels' record-breaking stunt”

  1. GCP says:

    This is a very weak article and example. These "big ideas" are not big ideas, not breakthrough, and just kind of generic. What were the results? How impactful were these tactics? Dig deeper and tell us something new or less obvious!

  2. secretsofsuccessinbrandlicensing says:

    May I embed this Mattel video into the chapter on Social Media in my book Secrets of Success in Brand Licensing? If I can , what reference do I need to add?

  3. Cale Johnson says:

    Hi there, yes, you're free to embed and share this video.

    For reference, please note that it was presented by Mattel's Betsy Burkett and Gretchen de Castellane at SocialMedia.org's BlogWell conference.

  4. Fred says:

    I'm sorry. There's nothing social media-ish about two old-school, hair-flipping flaks talking about how they made money for a toy company by blanketing people with nothing more than digital ad placements. I not gender bashing. But I am genre bashing. This is just two peope who added the word social to their pre-existing Mattel business cards and then went out for Jager shots. This just doesn't help.

  5. […] How Mattel Used Social Media to Build Excitement Around Record-Breaking Stunt. Now THIS is a stunt well done in today’s real-time world. They built excitement, kept the […]

  6. […] classic brands face: keeping the conversation fresh for longtime enthusiasts while adding new ones. read more […]

  7. myfavouritereview says:

    Wow, very interesting. Two extremely talented girls….