LA Times – Frisbees, Hula Hoops and Hacky Sacks – Wham-O Looks to Reinvent Itself for the Digital Age (2017)

This is one of a couple of recent articles that have been written about some changes at the Wham-O company and some attempts to get products such as Frisbees and Hacky Sacks going back out the door.

The first thing that came to mind is that these articles came out almost exactly when the World Championships were happening, surely there were opportunities to connect the two topics together.

Life was once an easy summer breeze for Wham-O. The Southern California toy outfit, founded in a South Pasadena garage shortly after World War II, churned out Frisbees like pancakes and Super Balls like gumballs.

Its Boogie Board (devised in 1971 by Orange County-bred Bahai surfer Tom Morey) stood sentinel in suburban garages. Only squares didn’t own a Hula Hoop (introduced in 1957; 100 million units sold within three years).

In Wham-O’s television ads, its iconic starburst logo dropped into living rooms like a Super Ball off a third-story balcony.

Times sure have changed.

Of the many entertainment-centric outfits disrupted by the digital era, few have been upended like Wham-O. Its toys, once symbols of an endless summer, are now relics of a bygone season.‎ Even the notion of a firm devoted to plastic playthings feels like an anachronism. Why kick around a beanbag when there’s FIFA Mobile Soccer?

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