Hot Wheels: Launching The Mixed Play Experience
Chris Down, Global Brand General Manager for Hot Wheels, and his team from the Advanced Play Group within Mattel, Inc., had developed an entirely new "mixed play" product experience that blended familiar Hot Wheels play in the physical world with breakthrough play in the digital world. The technology underlying the product was an NFC chip embedded in the physical Hot Wheels die-cast car that could be scanned to add a digital version of the car into a virtual domain, where users could see their stats and play video games with the car. The goal for the new mixed play experience was to extend the age of the Hot Wheels customer, as children were observed to be moving on from physical toys to digital play at a younger and younger age. The mixed play concept had received unprecedented investment and support, since it represented a whole new approach to play that could set the stage for the future of Hot Wheels and other Mattel brands. In early 2019, the product development phase was nearly complete and plans were being set for the launch. Key decisions needed to be made around positioning, naming, pricing, channel, promotion, and launch timing. Given the high expectations for the innovative mixed play platform, it was critical to get these go-to-market decisions right.