Interview: Christian Zentner of Hot Wheels
We relive the best moments of the iconic American toy brand's history
After a thrilling visit and video interview at the Hot Wheels design studio on their up-and-coming toys in the industry, we decided to delve deeper into the company's history and the nostalgia of the brand. Hot Wheels, the toy brand that began under the American company Mattel in 1968, has been producing at its iconic 1:64 scale cars for almost 50 years. And, as the industry evolved, Hot Wheels remained an American toy standard. Now the company gives children the opportunity to create their own designs of the iconic die-cast car with the Hot Wheels Car Maker. We had the opportunity to speak with the brand's Marketing Director Christian Zentner, who shared his best-loved experiences and proudest Hot Wheels moments.
Have you witnessed any kind of evolution in Hot Wheels over the years?
Hot Wheels cars have been around for 45 years, but that doesn’t make them old-timers. It's amazing how versatile the little cars are. Our talented design team updates over 400 cars every year to reflect contemporary styles and modern taste.
What are you most excited about for the future of Hot Wheels?
What I am continually amazed by is the adaptive nature of the Hot Wheels brand. Our team is always finding fresh ways to play with the toys and creating once-in-a-lifetime brand experiences. We recently witnessed this in our Team Hot Wheels campaign, bringing toy-sized stunts to life. In the future, we will continue telling these stories that allow kids of all ages to live out their wildest Hot Wheels dreams.
Is there something you've always wanted to do with Hot Wheels, but never gotten the chance?
There are so many great artists out there who have such a unique aesthetic. It would be so cool to see some of them put their personal stamp on Hot Wheels cars. Imagine what someone like Tim Burton would do with his own Hot Wheels car line.
Do you have a proudest moment or fondest memory working for Hot Wheels?
My proudest moment was the inception of Team Hot Wheels in 2011, when the team set the world record for the longest truck jump. Because, a) Actually taking the way kids have played on their living room floor for 40+ years and making it a reality was awesome; and b) working with all the passionate people on the team, from marketing, design, engineering, all the way to Izod and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What makes working at a Hot Wheels-sized scale so fascinating?
It's ironic that within the tiny three-inch footprint of a Hot Wheels car the possibilities really are limitless. Our designers pour their imaginations into these pint-sized cars, creating some of the most novel designs I've ever seen. We can tell endless stories about the toy. That's really what makes it so exciting to come into work every morning.
Images courtesy of Hot Wheels