HOG WILD TOYS, 25 years of Wacky FUN! tBR Company of the Week
The journey from self-proclaimed funky, fun and functional company to playing in the “toy major leagues” has been an imaginative and irreverent trip for Hog Wild Toys.
25 years after opening its doors, the Oregon-based company is now on the way to expanding its footprint in the toy business. They’ve recently made impressive inroads in both the games and outdoor toys aisles, been recognized in the industry awards arena with both TAGIE and TOTY nominations, and made their mark as a go-to brand in the world of blaster toys with its ever-‘pop’ular Atomic Power Popper line.
That’s not to say that they’ve left their legacy of “irreverent” roots, where they proudly and loudly boast about embracing the absurd and rejecting the conventional.
Founded in 1996, Hog Wild Toys settled into a successful, cozy niche, producing bold, on-trend and quirky product lines. Case in point: the recent launch of Handy Grabs, a classic gripping tool reimagined by the Hog Wild creative team with teeny tiny hands. The product is a break-out hit – and a darling of TikTok, Instagram and other platforms. Creators can’t wait to get their “hands” on them. Hey, who doesn’t need an extra set of hands these days?
The company’s iconic brand certainly has to be the Hog Wild Poppers, celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 2021. A simple but classic line, Poppers are different stylized characters that launch foam balls with just a squeeze! Designed as everything from Poo to Pigs, the latter even made its way into the company’s logo.
After a decade on the market, and hundreds of quirky designs (Unicorns, MLB Mascots, Avocados and Narwhals), Poppers are just as popular as ever. This season, a Chocolate Easter Bunny Popper, complete with a “bite” out of its ear, sold out everywhere fully a month before Easter. Hog Wild is expecting to sell its 12 millionth Popper during this anniversary celebration year.
Hog Wild’s retail roots have always been firmly planted in the specialty retail market, which is still very much part of the company’s winning DNA. Recently, management also set a strong directive for the sales team to start digging deep into mass market channels and expand Hog Wild’s unique footprint in the industry.
That expansion does not mean that the creative team is ignoring their over the top and out of the box motto. They delivered Pizza Party Throwdown in 2020, a game which literally had all the right ingredients – players tossed pepperoni, mushroom, even anchovy game pieces in the air onto a spinning pizza game board! It’s a perfect combination of frantic action and family fun, and very much on-brand for the quirky toy company. Pizza Party Throwdown was a retail hit, earning Hog Wild a place in Target’s game aisle and even netting a TOTY Game of the Year nomination.
In the same year they launched Birdie Golf, the clever hybrid golf/badminton toy that helped break Hog Wild into the outdoor play space and open new doors with retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Costco. The company knew it had a toy that was a great fit for the traditional spring/summer season. But then the pandemic hit hard, and everything turned, “un-traditional.” In China, factories closed, toy parts became scarce, and as a result retailers were left short of new summer entries. Fortunately, Hog Wild had two domestic warehouses stocked with extra available product and as a result was able to capitalize on and gain incremental sales for Birdie Golf.
This year, Hog Wild continues its march into new toy aisles, still mindful of its fun and funky brand. This spring, new outdoor entry Wing Ball has already earned the moniker of “the ball that’s not a ball.” The tubular-shaped foam throwing toy will be sold at Amazon and other specialty retailers. And this fall, Hog Wild will add two new games to its lineup with the launch of Game Face and Tapes family action games.
Ready with a full, fun and funky line up of new and existing playthings, and ready to tackle new retail avenues, the company is set to celebrate 2021 in style and GO HOG WILD!