Big Kid Toys

Posted on April 15, 2009

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This weekend was awesome.  Not just because it was Easter and the bunny brought me candy, but also because I live in a city that hosts massive Big Wheel races down giant hills.  According to the Big Wheel Web site, the popular toy has been "the king of the sidewalk for 40 years."  Apparently, it still is (or at least that guy in the cowboy hat seems to think so):

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So, as I watched hundreds (if not thousands) of adults racing their big wheels down a winding street in San Francisco, I couldn't help but think of all the Big Wheel marketing and sales teams left scratching their heads.  I imagine them wondering, "why the sudden up-tick in sales on the West Coast?"  I also see them locking themselves in a room thinking, "how should we reinvent the Big Wheel for modern kids?"

This just proves again that marketers spend a lot of time marketing to each other.  In the meantime, consumers are finding new ways to use your products.  No, they're not following branding guidelines or honoring the essence of the brand, but they're driving sales, they're having fun and they're building brand loyalty.

I guess what I'm saying is that marketers need to wake up and embrace these alternative product uses.  No, Big Wheel probably doesn't want to spotlight this (slightly dangerous) sport on their kids Web site, but there's an opportunity for an adult Big Wheel microsite, or a series of races in cities around the country, or Big Wheel/Nascar decal contests… whatever is going to move the needle.  It may be an over-used cliche, but a little thinking outside the box to sell more pedal-powered, three-wheel toys wouldn't hurt here. 

You might just find a new fan in this guy:

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