Rolling Down Rodeo with a Yo-yo

I mentioned recently that the one true path to demographic glory has been revealed as making your product appear urban. Here’s how some awesomely stupid people entertained me by taking that lesson to heart.

A couple of years ago, I was wandering through a mall in southern California, where I saw that a stage had been set up, and a bunch of kids were in a competition of yo-yo skills. It was all sponsored by the Duncan company, a leading manufacturer of yo-yos.

And before I get too far in this, I want to stress that when I said “awesomely stupid people” up above, I did not mean the kids involved in this competition. I felt sorry for these kids, because of the incompetent handling they were given by their idiot corporate sponsors from Duncan.

The competitors were highly skilled, and deserved better than they got. They were mainly just awkward, stage-frightened teens. And that was too bad for everyone, because the marketers of Duncan were on a mission to update the image of the yo-yo.

And what image did they choose to cultivate for the modern yo-yo enthusiast? You guessed it: violent gangster. These poor kids just wanted to perform their complicated yo-yo stunts; but the organizers didn’t seem so interested in that. They made the competitors exhibit their craft to the accompaniment of a lot of angry rap music; and they judged them not just on their skills, but also on what they called “swagger.”

The funny thing is, it worked. All forty or so of us in the audience were overawed and intimidated by the “swagger” of these awkward teens, and immediately rushed out to tell all of our urban friends that their antisocial image was now incomplete without a Duncan yo-yo and skills to match.

It’s baffling that “” no longer exists, isn’t it?

Actually, no. I felt sorry for the kids, and wanted to slap the organizers for the crass futility of their manipulation and pandering. I had to admit, though, it was pretty funny.

To the best of my ability to Google, it looks like Duncan has toned down their overtly obnoxious stupidity at least a little, and good for them. But as far as I know, nobody ever gave them the vicious mockery they deserved. And that’s what the Hoondat Report is here for.

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