If last year’s retro toy / Formula One cross-over classic was Lewis Hamilton and his Airfix advert, 2009 looks like being the year we all rediscover the joys of chasing out-of-control Scalextric cars as they tumble across the carpet shedding wing mirrors and tyres.
Not only have Santander followed up their promotional head-turner with a new ad featuring Hamilton as the driver of one of the iconic slot cars, but the company itself has also announced it’s got the licence to produce Brawn GP sets and individual cars.
You can already buy a Jenson Button Scalextric car, of course, but only if you want to be reminded of the horror that was the 2007 Earth Dreams Honda. And there are plenty of Hamilton McLarens in the company’s range too.
But the new deal means you’ll be able to stage a face-off between the current and (hopefully) next world champions in your living room from early next year – sooner if you use the micro set which will be out in time for Christmas.
Paul Chandler, Scalextric Marketing Manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with Brawn GP. The early season performances of the new team have been a revelation to the world of motor sport and we wish the team continued success.
“The new range of Scalextric Brawn GP products will appeal to racing fans of all ages across the world and we anticipate significant ongoing interest.”
One unanswered question is whether the new kit will feature the yellow and black helmet Our Jense has worn so far this season, or his usual red, white and blue design as shown in the BBC report featuring a couple of early demo cars.
Meanwhile, Santander’s new ad sees Hamilton and a crew of mechanics emerge from a Scalextric box to set up a track in what the press release describes as a “typical British living room” – that’s the sort of ‘typical’ room with acres of space and polished floorboards you only ever see on TV, of course.
The message is all about working together and being strong in difficult times – presumably not a reference to McLaren’s 2009 season – and the visuals are impressively detailed, right down to the little wiggle the backside of the car gives as it speeds away.
It hasn’t quite got the same ‘wow’ factor as the Airfix one had – but sequels never do, do they?
There’s also a ‘making of’ video, covering how the clever creative chaps married together the 1:32 scale models and the actual people.
“A shoot on a large sound stage at Shepperton Studios allowed cast members to interact with custom made models of Scalextric track, 32 times their normal size,” said the company.
“This meant when these shots were replicated in a normal size living room the cast and props could be scaled down to fit the exact the proportions of the room itself.”
Here’s the behind-the-scenes look: