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SCOTT JAGOW: Hot Wheels are a huge part of Mattel’s profits but the cars haven’t been selling so well. So Mattel took the little cars to the tiny town of Speed, Kansas. Charla Bear tells us why.
CHARLA BEAR: With only 35 residents, Speed, Kansas can’t put much of a dent in Mattel’s sales goals.
But the town’s simplicity is exactly why the toymaker went full-speed ahead with a Hot Wheels festival and ad campaign there.
Toy specialist and Dartmouth Professor Eric Johnson says Mattel is trying to bring customers back to a basic idea of fun.
ERIC JOHNSON: It really is this hometown nostalgic thing they are tapping back into.
Hot Wheels could use a jumpstart. Sales have slowed by more than 5 percent this year.
Johnson says Mattel has reason to think this small-town campaign could turn things around. A similar back-to-basics push has given Barbie sales a makeover.
I’m Charla Bear for Marketplace.
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