12/29/08

et tu, radio flyer? no, not et tu.


when it comes to chicago companies, i love the innovative ones like threadless, which let the world know this city doesn't live in the past.

that said...

i also like chicago companies that are hopelessly, unintentionally rooted in the past. take radio flyer. the company known for the ubiquitous little red wagons now makes... little red wagons. to broaden its product menu, it now offers little red wagons in miniature versions. and to celebrate their 90th anniversary, they made a... wait for it... red wagon - only this one was extra large. (yes, they make a couple other things, but they end up looking suspiciously like wagons disguised as something else.)

now, radio flyer is proposing a souped up wagon (pictured), complete with an mp3 player and cupholders. some people are grousing that radio flyer is abandoning its heritage. c'mon, it's still a WAGON. (one can argue that it's hard for a kid to let his imagination wander while strapped into a bucket seat - and one would be correct in that argument - but "overprotective parents" is not a subject of this post.) radio flyer's product development manager said, "we approached this product much like an automotive company might with a concept car."

normally, i would be concerned about a company that looks to the automotive industry as a role model for product innovation. but for radio flyer, that somehow seems perfect.

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