Fisher-Price Rehabs Power Wheels

GGC&Y to Bolster Image of Ride-On Motorized Toys After Recall
SAN FRANCISCO–Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young will launch a new $8 million campaign this spring for Power Wheels motorized ride-on vehicles for kids, a line marketed by Mattel’s preschool unit, Fisher-Price. The tagline is, “Don’t you wish you had one when you were a kid.”
The campaign is Fisher-Price’s first major advertising push for Power Wheels since the company announced a major recall of the line last fall after it was discovered that fuses and electrical connectors in the vehicles could cause heat damage and fires.
The new GGC&Y campaign is intended to strengthen the image of Power Wheels, although Fisher-Price reported the recall did not significantly hinder sales during the holiday season.
“The new advertising messages will focus solely on the positives of Fisher-Price,” said Chuck Scothon, vice president of marketing at the East Aurora, N.Y.-based company.
Fisher-Price is also looking to boost year-round sales of the ride-on toys, which typically sell best around the holidays, and promote new models recently added to the Power Wheels line. They include a Harley-Davidson motorcycle toy that made its debut at the 1999 American International Toy Fair in New York last week.
A 60-second, parent-targeted spot from the San Francisco agency will run in 1,500 movie theaters in May and June before G- and PG-rated movies. The spot will highlight the unique positioning of the toy that lets kids “do”–meaning drive–not just pretend, said Scothon.
For TV, 30-second spots also targeting parents include promotional messages. One spot touts Power Wheels’ “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, which is being extended from three months to a year. The ads carry the same tagline and theme as the theater spots.
Ads directed at parents will showcase multiple vehicles, while those geared toward kids will highlight specific models, such as Extreme Machine and The Wild Thing.
To get the big-ticket items into households with more than one child, a buy-one-get-one promo running from May 10 until June 13 will offer an $80 toddler vehicle with each $125-plus Power Wheels purchase.
GGC&Y executives were attending the Toy Fair at press time, and could not be reached for comment about the campaign.