Wham-O’s Careless Marketing

I was in Sportmart tonight and noticed a big display of flying discs, a model I had never seen before. I checked it out and it turned out to be one of the endless stream of light-up discs that are sold every year. Big whoop!

Then I noticed that Wham-O had redesigned the 140g All-Sport model and both the disc and the package actually looked good. Understated and sporting rather than flashy and toylike. If only I had walked away then and there.

I read the back of the dual-language package only to be stopped in my tracks by this masterpiece of copywriting: “Airbrushing and tips are two of the most popular catches.” Oh. My. God. Should we be grateful that they were aware of two freestyle moves, or should we be outraged that they called two non-throws throws?
Having worked in marketing (at Wham-O), I can only imagine how this copy was written. The most important thing to remember is that the Frisbee marketing manager approved that copy, took responsibility for its accuracy, signed off. The seemingly random placement of freestyle buzzwords hints at a disregard or even disrespect for disc sports. That’s not news, though. We have been disappointed in Wham-O’s commitment to partnering with disc sports for success for some time.
What did they do? Did the brand manager, having never even seen freestyle, decide she wanted to add credibility to the Frisbee brand? Did she have so little regard for her brand’s legitimacy that any words would do, because those stupid consumers will never find out the truth anyway? We can only speculate.

But wait! There’s more! On the packaging, they pitched a brand new website – frisbeedisc.com. I was encouraged. Frisbee had been stuck as a subset of wham-o.com, held back by a requirement to fit in with the rest of the Wham-O products. Perhaps they did something cool, something that matched their hotstamp and packaging redesign, something that would convey the athleticism and excitement of disc sports.

Nope! The website that is pitched on their packaging does not even exist. There is nothing but a generic register.com “coming soon” page. Very professional!

Deep down, I root for Wham-O. As a disc sports athlete and one of the founding employees of the new Wham-O, it would be nice to see them do the right thing, supporting disc sports in a way that also makes them money. As much as they have walked away from disc sports, they still have the trademark Frisbee and with that comes the power to make more of an impact than most of us. It is discouraging when they do the job halfway, as they did on the 140g packaging.

2 Replies to “Wham-O’s Careless Marketing”

  1. frisbeedisc.com is looking better. Wham-O has put a placeholder image up, a big air gitis
    by a player I can’t quite identify. Any ideas who it is?

    More encouragingly, the new marketing manager seems to get the potential
    of the Frisbee brand. He seems interested in doing something more than
    counting the easy money, as the brand has done too often. There are some
    interesting developments in the pipeline.

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