The Bern has been a big hit, even though it hasn’t been released yet. We did bring it to a juggling festival in Rochester and sold out the few we brought. The feedback there was great. This bi-metal sells for $75 and plays better than yo-yos selling for much, much more.
The Bern has also raised a bit of controversy; from many places, in many forms, and from many political viewpoints. We just thought it was a cool name for a yo-yo and the icon looked great. We like the idea of trying new things and keeping it fresh. Naming yo-yos can be kind of boring and its hard to come up with something fun. So when someone on our team suggested the Bern, we agreed it’s fun and different and will probably generate some conversation. It did.
We received emails, texts, private messages and some Facebook posts about the Bern. For those of you that saw it as fun, timely, and a generally a positive image association, cool. That’s what we thought. But some people really got bent out of shape, and some for completely opposite reasons. We heard from two supporters who claimed to be Trump supporters who said they were mad because clearly yoyo Zeekio is supporting a communist and we must be communists too. Two others claimed to be Bernie supporters, and felt that we should be sending money to Bernie because it’s his face that will be selling the Yo-Yo. Additionally there were other complaints about everything from we stole the idea to Bernie would be insulted. And some so ignorant I won’t bother mentioning them. Overall, it has been positive feedback, especially from (and this is the most important), players who have actually thrown the Bern. It is a great throw. Totally consistent with yoyo Zeekio’s philosophy of trying to put out great yo-yos that don’t cost a fortune.
So where did the graphic design for the Bern come from? Let me be clear on one thing. We did not invent it. It is an image that is out in the public domain and nobody seems to know who originally designed it. It’s out on tee shirts, hats, mugs, stickers, jewelry and even tattoos. It is perhaps the biggest popular culture icon of the year, and we really like it.
Let me be clear on one other thing. Regardless of my personal political leaning, yoyo Zeekio does not endorse, fundraise for, or in anyway support any political candidate. If you see this yo-yo as an endorsement, you are entitled to your opinion. If you see it as anti-Bernie, you are also entitled to your opinion. As to our opinion, we just like it.
We have also been accused of corporate greed for using this image to promote our yo-yo. We do not consider ourselves a greedy company. We try to conduct our business in an honest above board way and while we certainly look to make a profit, it is not the be all end all of who we are. But just to emphasize this point and to satisfy some of our customers and fans who may be concerned by some of the things that have been said about yoyo Zeekio, we will be donating $5 for every Bern yo-yo we sell to the Second Harvest Food bank. A great charity that does great work for some of the neediest people in our country. This was a small run of yo-yos, so it won’t be a huge amount, but we donate to many not for profits through out the year and like to think that every bit helps.
In closing, let me just say that we are really proud of the Bern Yo-Yo and ask that if you think the Bern is cool – buy it before the run is sold out. It plays amazing. If you don’t think its so cool, well, that’s fine too. Just give us the benefit of the doubt and don’t over think our motivations too much.
Mitch Silver is the owner of yoyo Zeekio and the editor-in-chief of YoyoSkills.com