You know what they say about not fixing things that ain’t broken? Well, I guess some people just feel the need to fix and one of those “some people” is Wham-O. Wham-O is the maker of Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Slip ’N Slide and many other active toys, and today, the company is reinventing the wheel, or should we say, reinventing the disc. Since its acquisition of the rights to the flying disc called Frisbee 61 years ago, this iconic flying disc that has been a staple in so many outings and parks has remain pretty much unchanged. Well, that’s of course until now.
Wham-O has taken to Kickstarter to peddle a completely redesigned Frisbee called Frisbee Sonic and no, that’s not a radical bike saddle (although it does look like one from some perspectives). And neither is it a regular Frisbee that has warped under extreme temperatures. The wavy design is intentional and it is there for a very good reason, so we heard. The square-ish sine wave shape that gave it the wobbly look is said to “resemble a bird in flight as it spins through the air” and it is supposed to promote straighter flight (thanks to its self-correcting nature) and on the other end, easier catch.
Moreover, it is easier to hold and to throw, since it does not require your flat wrist to conform to the Frisbee’s flat surface (cos’ it technically has no flat surface). The wavy nature means that the Frisbee will have elevated areas that allows for easy picking up on super flat surfaces, which makes it easier for fidos too, if he/she failed to catch it in mid-air. Then again, fido isn’t stupid. He/she should be able to catch it on its slow descend right? Anyways, it has a bunch of other “benefits,” but the “benefits” pitched only served to remind me of something: businesses assume consumers hate challenges.
With Frisbee Sonic, perhaps a game of Frisbee could be enjoyable, but never challenging like it was with the flat variety. Having said that, wouldn’t it mean that it is not suitable as sport anymore? Regardless, we have to give it to Wham-O for the R&D, however simple or complex, put in to reinventing something that does not quite need any reinventing. Now, back to the Kickstarter campaign… the campaign has concluded and both surprisingly and not surprisingly, it was funded and while so, it does not share the enthusiasm like some independent campaigns.
Perhaps, generally speaking, consumers are not open to the idea of an easy throw and catch Frisbee? Maybe. All told, Wham-O’s Frisbee Sonic has rolled in a little over $8,000 in funding from 312 backers. Not quite a superstar there and the lowly $5K goal seems to be an intentional strategy to get it into production for the market to test. Nothing wrong here. I am just concerned about how businesses are actively shaping how we live and have fun.