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Mattel "Thomas & Friends" experience: Celebrating 70 years of Thomas.

With Thomas’ 70th Anniversary fast approaching, Mattel wanted to raise awareness of Thomas & Friends™ and let customers know that Thomas was still very much young at heart and an eternal companion to young children. We were asked to come up with a brand experience that would give parents and pre-schoolers the opportunity to experience the full breadth of the Thomas product range through a series of fun adventures, and drive in-store sales of Thomas & Friends™ products. From his early days in children’s books all the way through to becoming a global phenomenon, Thomas & Friends™ has always been about friendship. To keep the experience on brand, we developed our experiential tour around the idea of friendship, to remind parents and kids that Thomas is as relevant as ever.

All aboard the ‘Best friends express tour bus.

We worked closely with HIT Entertainment to develop an exciting nationwide retail tour. We used a double decker bus to create a unique experience with amazing activities for children and parents to enjoy. The ‘Best Friends Express’ bus would introduce new customers to the wonders of Thomas & Friends™ and remind existing fans how much fun Thomas & Friends™ can be. On the bus there were lots of activities to keep parents and children entertained, including a Parent’s Quiz, an Engine Driver Racing Game, Leapfrog activity, the Pulley Racing game, a photo opportunity with Thomas and a fun slide to exit the bus. At the end of the experience, each child left with a lovely photograph memento and a goody bag with lots of fun Thomas & Friends™ activities to do at home. And parents were encouraged by our promotional staff to check out the full toy range in-store. We also created online buzz on the Thomas & Friends™ website, Netmums and the campaign microsite, with an interactive map of where the bus was headed, along with a live image gallery posted on the #ThomasUK page.

Thomas & Friends™ meet 16,000 consumers in just 25 days!

The Tour Bus visited 25 different locations close to either a Smyths, Toys R Us, Asda, Argos or Tesco store. We easily hit our target, reaching nearly 16,000 consumers in just 25 days. 58% of our visitors were aged between 3 and 9 years old and our follow up research indicated 100% positive feedback about the experience. We also averaged over 40 Instagram posts per day (1025 in total) with the hashtag #ThomasUK.

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