KidScreen’s tireless search for downright wacky licensed product finds us hitting the varnished floors of U.S. bowling alleys this month.
The bowling ball as art? It may strain credulity, but Lake Forest, Illinois-based Brunswick Bowling and Billiards is determined to transform the blank visage of the average bowling ball into a canvas for creative expression. Through its Viz-A-Ball service, launched in March, Brunswick gives wee bowlers the chance to have a variety of stylish licensed designs emblazoned on their bowling ball.
So far, the company has agreements with Disney (for Mickey and Minnie, Winnie The Pooh, Pluto and Tigger), the WWF (for Cold Stone Steve Austin, The Rock and Chyna) and Coca-Cola (for its logo and Polar Bear mascot). The service retails for US$129.95 to US$139.95 (about twice as much as the cost of a typical Brunswick ball), and is available at the company’s 120 bowling centers in the U.S. and via its website (www.viz-a-ball.com).
To up the collectibility factor, Brunswick is retiring each design after 4,000 units have been sold. In Q4, Viz-A-Ball also plans to offer consumers a service that will allow them to customize balls using their own designs and photographs.