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August 15, 2012


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Don Gibbs

Dear Richard:

From my experience, it is the retailer and the consumer that are viewing these products as commodities and not worthy of proper placement or appreciation. A few years ago, I helped to introduce a wonderful line of classic games to the US specialty market with the WWF license as a brand / image. Each product: chess, checkers, Ludo (Parcheesi if you are Hssbro), etc. was made of FSC wood and FSC Card stock when appropriate. In addition to providing the expected game play, the products introduced consumers to endangered animal habitat around the globe along with the specific animals threatened by extinction. Lastly, each product was beautifully designed with designs representing the threatened animals.These products didn't sell well at all -- particularly if they were shown next to the more commodity oriented products with which they competed. It just became a matter of price / value. We were given little credit for using recycled materials and properly managed forestry wood. Our prices were higher and thus not competitive.
Obviously, this doesn't disprove the case -- there may have been other shortcomings to the products or the price differences just may have been too much for the average Specialty Toy consumer. But I won't try and market a basic game again without a significant twist on the game play or positioning.

Sarah Dugo

Thanks for bringing up the red rubber ball. I just lost my father & forgot about a game we played-even through high school. It was simple, you hide the rubber ball in another's shoes, clothing, etc. to see how long it took them to discover it. One of my fondest memories is hiding it my Dad's suit breast pocket & he never noticed. What a laugh we had-thank you Richard for reminding me of a good memory.
Our generation really needs to re-introduce children to the joys simpler forms of play using imagination.


Thank you for sharing that wonderful memory.

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