Mattel & Europcar Create First Rental Car Agency For Kids

Mattel, the maker of Hot Wheels toy cars, has teamed up with European car rental agency Europcar to offer the children of car-renting adults the chance to rent the Hot Wheels models of their choice. Sound good, kids? Just sign on the dotted line... and be prepared to face the consequences if they're returned late and/or damaged.

Equal parts education and fun, the rental Hot Wheels scheme is the brainchild of Patrick Sullivan, creative director at Ogilvy and Mather, Paris. “Mattel and Europcar are two Ogilvy clients that have some creative and account leadership staffing overlap,” related Sullivan. “One hallway conversation led to another.”

Mattel's main motivation was keeping the Hot Wheels brand relevant in an age of digital gaming where kids are far less “hands on” when it comes to toys like die-cast Hot Wheels cars. Getting the toys into those hands was becoming more and more difficult... which is where Europcar comes in.

Parents renting cars at a Europcar agency were offered separate contracts for Hot Wheels cars in a sort of “sample & sale” scheme: kids got to play with Hot Wheels during oft-boring road trips and if they kept the cars (really the whole point), their parents' credit cards would be billed.

In the end, everyone wins. Not only do kids occupy themselves playing with their chosen Hot Wheels car during long trips, they also get a first-hand look at how car-renting works. Thats because each child rental contract is modeled after their parents' agreement. “The pre-booking, the rental contracts, the test-drives, the free upgrades, unlimited miles – whatever the parents experienced on the Europcar side, the kids experienced on the Hot Wheels cars,” explained Sullivan.

As for Mattel, they'll sell more Hot Wheels with a bonus of knowing which of their models appeal most to the young renters. Last but not least, stress-out traveling parents will hear the dreaded phrase “Are we there yet?” a whole lot less. (via Autonet/Keri Potipcoe and Advertising Age, images via Creativity and ChipChick)