Spotlight: Mattel takes bus to launch Ello system

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Marketer: Mattel Brands, El Segundo, Calif.

Effort: Ello Bus Tour

Agency: U.S. Concepts, New York

Twist: To promote the national rollout of Ello, its creative play system for girls introduced late last year in some markets, Mattel is betting that hands-on experience will boost sales. This month Mattel launches a nationwide tour visiting malls, children's museums and festivals with a bus that converts into a large play space for kids to experiment with Ello's various construction themes. Targeting girls 5 to 12 years old, the tour highlights "Fairytopia," the newest of three $19.99 modules in the system, and aims to build anticipation for "Jungala," a $34.99 deluxe kit available in October.

Vital statistics: The tour kicked off in Hollywood June 7 and runs through Aug. 17, expected to reach thousands of consumers at 11 major cities from Seattle to Fayetteville, Ark. Each participating child receives a free Ello jewelry piece. A pair of 30-second spot and cable TV commercials via WPP Group's Y&R, Los Angeles, back the effort in regional markets.

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