Crafting stories through brand design

To interact with a child, we need to think like one!


However, when the consumer is the child herself and the task is that of creating a story for her toy, the challenge grows manifold. I had the privilege of working with one of the most renowned toy makers of the world, Mattel, to revamp one of their ranges of toy cars, under the brand, HotWheels. The idea was to create a more interesting story around what a kid could do with her HotWheels car and in turn entice them to buy and collect more from the range.

HotWheels is an iconic brand created in the 60s by Elliot Handler, a cofounder of Mattel, Inc., who had envisioned a die-cast car to surpass the popular English Matchbox brand. He had wanted to create a line of cars for the boys just as the Barbie doll had become popular for the girl’s division. Over the years, HotWheels has grown into a strong brand of miniature cars by bringing out newer models, combining style with speed. It claims to have produced more than 800 models and 11,000 variations and sells almost eight cars every second!

The brand that began with small die-cast vehicles is now involved with developing a wide variety from Formula One racing cars to Monster Trucks, Mechanix, and Sho-gun Racers. HotWheels vehicles have even extended into other X-treme wheeled sports lines, including skateboard products and motocross products endorsed by Jeremy McGrath. It developed flexible, plastic tracks for racing HotWheels, complete with the famous loop that became the symbol of the brand to several generations of kids.

Today’s gadget-savvy, brand conscious kids are extremely knowledgeable and they know exactly what they want. Kids may be the youngest of consumers, but their influence on purchase decisions is immense – Kidfluence.

In order to appeal to this segment, it’s important to understand their lifestyle and be in line with their thought process. It was imperative that we speak to kids and understand their world. We embarked on the journey by conducting a Focused Group Discussion (FGD) with kids. It’s an experience in itself to conduct an FGD with the kids.

It was inferred from the research study that kids get engrossed in genres like thrilling horror, action-based adventures or just destructive activities. They look for variety and newness in every activity.

We also inferred that their imagination runs wild as they enjoy storytelling and get enthralled with fascinating cartoon tales or daily series. We decided to make the best use of their stories. Storytelling as an activity helps children use their emotions, cognition, psychomotor and social skills. There is a possibility to spark their imagination, increase interaction and in turn improve their overall experience with the product.