Merchandising Opportunities That ‘Cars 2’ Missed


It’s astonishing to think that the combined marketing power of Disney AND Pixar could have missed any possible opportunity to cash in on “Cars 2.” Yet our careful examination uncovers several potential merchandising tie-ins that Dis-Pix has failed to exploit. We present them here free of charge, as a service to the fledgling Disney corporation.

Actual cars

This should have been obvious. Lightning McQueen is apparently based on the Chevrolet Corvette and the Dodge Viper. Why not get one of those auto companies to make an actual Lightning McQueen car? Surely this would be a boost for the troubled U.S. automotive industry. You’re thinking the reason no one did this is that the “Cars” movies are aimed at children, and children don’t buy cars. True enough. But think about how easy it would be for an enthusiastic and adorable little boy to cajole his father — who’s getting older, after all, and could use a boost to his sense of coolness — into buying a red sports car.

AAA partnership

Let’s say your car breaks down on the side of the road. You’re a member of the American Automobile Association, so you call the toll-free number and a tow truck is dispatched. And when it arrives, guess what it’s been painted to look like? That’s right, it’s Mater, everyone’s favorite illiterate hillbilly anthropomorphic tow truck! Maybe the driver even does Mater’s voice, although that could be a coincidence.

Oreos made to look like automobile tires, in collectible “Cars”-themed packaging

Or Hostess cupcakes. Or whatever.

“Charlotte’s Web” tie-in paperback

Stay with me here. Charlotte’s Web is the story of a piglet who’s the runt of the litter and destined for euthanasia. But he’s rescued at the last minute, and then somehow becomes hugely famous and popular, despite his weaknesses. That is also the story of “Cars,” the runt of Pixar’s litter that made $461 million worldwide and spawned a sequel, despite lacking most of the positive traits of its siblings! Cars is SOME PIG!

Gasoline soda pop

Hey, kids! Wanna be just like your heroes Lightning McQueen and Mater and whatever the hell the other characters are called? Then you’ll need to drink Gasoline! Not actual gasoline — kids, whatever you do, DO NOT drink gasoline — but new Gasoline brand soft drinks! There’s a variety of flavors, and they all come in a totally awesome container that looks like a gas can! “Fill ‘er up” wherever soft drinks are sold!

Ray-Ban sunglasses that look like headlights

These would not look any stupider than regular Ray-Bans.

Fiber One

Fiber One is considered a breakfast cereal for grown-ups because it’s low in sugar and tastes like mulch. But they could easily tap into the juvenile market by putting “Cars” characters on the box and making TV commercials telling kids that Fiber One will help keep your engine running smooth and clean and cut down on harmful emissions.

Historic Route 66

Why haven’t the actual Route 66 road signs along the storied highway been festooned with “Cars” characters yet? There is no conceivable reason for this oversight.

Traffic school

Everybody hates being sentenced to traffic school because of a few tickets. But you’d probably hate it a lot less if it was sponsored by Disney and taught by instructors wearing officially licensed “Cars” costumes! Wouldn’t that be great? Come on, that would be great and you know it. You’d get tickets on purpose, just so you could go to “Cars” traffic school.