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?

Thought Co – The History of Hacky Sack (2017)

A look at the early days of the sport. I was a little disappointed as I thought it was going to continue on with the history, but only mentions the very initial days.

Hacky Sack, also known as Footbag, is a modern, non-competitive American sportthat involves kicking a bean bag and keeping it off the ground for as long as possible. It was invented in 1972 by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall of Oregon as a fun, challenging way to exercise.

INVENTING THE HACKY SACK

The story of Hacky Sack began in the summer of 1972 in Oregon. Mike Marshall introduced visiting Texan John Stalberger to a game that involved kicking a bean bagrepeatedly to keep it off the ground for as long as possible — using all parts of your body, except your hands and arms — and then eventually passing it to another player.

Read more at https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-hacky-sack-1991667

 

Media Post – Q&A:Wham-O CEO Wants to Get Kids Back Outside (2016)

This is an interview with a marketing focus with Wham-O CEO Todd Richards. Like other similar articles, Hacky Sack is one of the brands the company want to entice people back outside with, while also selling more of their own products.

Richards, who had previously served as vice president of sales for the company in the early 2000s, returned to the company last December to see this vision through as CEO. Here, he talks with Marketing Daily.

Q: What has been your mission coming back to the company?

A: As a kid growing up, like a lot of people my age, I grew up with Wham-O products. I saw this opportunity to bring back to the forefront of consumers the products we have, like Frisbee Slip-n-slide, Hacky Sack and Hula Hoop. These are products everyone knows around the world. I [also saw] a generation of kids that aren’t familiar with Frisbee or Slip-n-Slide.