The pog fad is fading fast with kids in the United States, although some suppliers report finding new outlets in Europe. The World POG Federation, licenser and promoter of the kids' game, may file for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, said founder Alan Rypinski.
The company's financial problems may affect plans for the U.S. Pog championships scheduled for Nov. 25 at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif.
The firm had 1994 sales of $11.2 million. Rypinski had predicted 1995 sales of $50 million but Christmas sales have not materialized. As a result, the company's work force has dropped from 61 to 13.
The fad has ``virtually disappeared,'' said Howard Hirsch-mann of Colman & Hirschmann, manufacturers' representatives in New York. The fad lasted a couple of years in Hawaii and on the West Coast, hit a quick peak in some locations and ``didn't penetrate some parts at all,'' he said.
``Small organizations disappeared overnight, and retailers stuck with merchandise are dropping prices to get rid of inventory,'' Hirschmann said.
Foreign markets still exist.
``We are selling quite a bit in eight countries in Europe'' where the attraction is in its ``beginning stages,'' said Bill Hodson, founder of Trov USA in Corona, Calif. He said he believes the fad lasted eight months in the United States, where it is ``now in the serious cleaning-out phase.''
Injection molder B&P Plastics Inc., doing business as Advance Plastics in National City, Calif., received an order from a German customer for 100,000 pieces and anticipates one from a French customer for 500,000 pieces, said owner Bruce Browne. At a maquiladora in Tecate, Mexico, Advance Plastics coats a core of steel washers with an elastomer cap on the top and finger grips of rubber on the bottom to produce a soft-coated, resilient slammer.
The game originated at Hawaii's Haleakala Dairy decades ago and gained popularity beginning in 1991. Kids collect and trade decorative cardboard disks - and stack and knock them over by throwing a hockey-puck-like plastic, acrylic or metal ``slammer.'' The trademarked acronym POG comes from the dairy's passion fruit/orange/guava drink. The disks are known among players generically as pogs.
The dairy sold its POG trademark rights to the World POG Federation, which was formed in 1994 and organizes tournaments and licenses fast-food, beverage, chewing gum and theme park marketers to use game pieces and accessories as sales incentives.