I’ve been struggling with how to share this without being bias or negative to anyone anywhere. I’m not even sure if I am inline or out-of-line for even wanting to write about this, but it has been kinda on my mind and figured I’d just say it. I mean free speech right? Well to an extent.
When I went to World’s 2010 I saw YoYoFactory every where, midnight release parties, every other person with a YoYoFactory shirt on stage, selling tons and tons of yoyos. (I just got into YoYo’ing and was brand new and didn’t know really anything) I ended up leaving world’s with like 6 or 7 YYF yoyo’s and my mind was made up that it was YYF or nothing, how could anyone compete with that. They were every where, they were the “In” thing the “Hip and Cool” or “Chill” depending on which decade you relate to
As I started researching more and found things like YoYoExpert.com I started seeing more of the variety’s available. Why would anyone want these? I’ve never heard of One Drop, Weerd, General Yo or anything else. I mean YoYoJam even had a big booth at World’s and I looked at it briefly but didn’t seem to be any buzz so I just kept walking. Fast forward a couple of months after I have been brai…doctrinated, and I started coming on the forums and when people asked about a new yoyo I would say it was Protostar all the way! I even argued when someone said Dark Magic II. I mean sure, it is featured here and Andre used in the videos but, it was probably because the protostar wasn’t available. Better yet, it was because he was one of the select few not sponsored by YYF. Yet, I kept hearing more and more on the boards, (not on the internet, not on youtube, not on facebook) but on here of people who are passionate about yoyo’ing. It is through here that I finally traded one of my YYF to a board member here for a DM2. I had low expectations and even the first throw I was not sold. Then I kept playing and playing and playing with it. Wow, I get it now! For a beginner like me, this really is a great throw. I even now use it over my protostar as my go-to practice yoyo! Who would have thunk it!
Fast forward even more and I start looking outside my YYF goggles and looking at what people list as their favorite throws. I started reading poster’s top 5 throws and top 5 wish lists. I am then completely shocked. Instead of seeing YYF after YYF listed, I start seeing the opposite. Very very few people even listed a YYF throw let along more than one or two. Such a wide variety starts popping up and starts getting me super curious.
I then get the opportunity to see a Duncan show and chat with one of them after the event. (Mind you I went because I knew my kids would like it, but Duncan? Really? Cheap Kiddy toys if you ask me) After just a few minutes I was really shocked by the attitude, energy and honestly…“vibe” that I got from them verses YYF. It was completely different. They got down with my son and played with him and showed him how to do a brain twister, which he still does excitedly almost every morning. I finally had to ask the question:
“I know YYF is obviously competition and all, but it just seems like you all have like a completely different game plan and approach, I guess I don’t understand why you all are not more in your face, more competition focused and put out more metal stuff.” He smiled and said some very kind things about YYF (This isn’t sarcasm either it was very kind words). However, he said one thing that stuck with me. He said “YYF sells cool, we sell fun.” Hmmm wow, it all then made sense. It was like a lightbulb went off and everything finally made sense. I have a whole new respect for Duncan now too.
YYF is a marketing power house and major props to them. They just did the tour, the tour packages that all sold out…brilliant! They utilize youtube, facebook, and many other social media like masters. Grabbing up almost every up and coming player and adding them to their “Team” After nationals I immediately went to their youtube page to find the videos to watch…which they were there. Keeping YYF in my mind. Shoot they don’t even have to sponsor Nationals (Which I didn’t see their sign in the video) to still have a major “free” presence.
That brings me to where I am now, excited to try out new throws, looking for things like American Made (just means something to me) and seeing that quality can come from something that isn’t overly “hyped.” So, what is the point of all of this rambling? Not 100% sure! haha.
My hats off to YYF. My favorite yoyo (by means of not owning any other brands) is the 888x which is just an amazing throw. I love the way they market and pump up yoyo’ing. Making it mainstream and cool. But I’m, on the other hand, almost sad that it seems like it is being commercialized so much that it becomes very “Corporate Cliche.” I would almost relate them to the kid that is trying so hard to be cool when if they just stopped trying so hard everyone else would realize it too. Which seems to be the approach that One Drop and others have done to pretty big fan fare at least on these boards.
Again this isn’t a bash thread, I am a big fan of YYF and intrigued on how they have approached this market and changed the way people look at Yoyo’ing. But once I see through the hype, I see that there are other companies out there very passionate about their craft. I think that might be the key right there, the more commercial something becomes the less passion of the craft you see. It is difficult to try to appear bigger than life and still show the passion and care of each individual item and person.
So what are your thoughts? Do you like the hype, the larger than life, the cool factor? Or do you prefer the art, the craft, the personalization, and one on one. Do you like the Mass appeal, or the specific directed approach. Is it wrong to be one way or another? Can you do both? Thanks for letting me share this and I look forward to reading your responses.