rnie Capobianco, chief financial officer and general manager of Square One, knows why dogs have black lips and why doughnuts have holes.
The Dallas agency executive is the inventor of Malarky, a board game that encourages players to make up reasons for such profound questions as “Why are pistachios dyed red?”
“I started on this game when I was working at Chiat/Day in New York,” said Capobianco. “I had read one of David Feldman’s books [Imponderables] and licensed the concept of a game in exchange for splitting the royalties with the author.”
Malarky was initially rejected by major manufacturers, so Capobianco invested $50,000 to produce his game and peddled it to stores in 14 cities. It now sells 250,000 units per year.
“Basically it was a struggle,” said Capobianco. “I consider myself real lucky.”
Square One got lucky, too. After producing ads for Capobianco’s game, the agency recently picked up the estimated $2 million account of Patch Products in Wisconsin, which manufactures Malarky. –J. Dee Hill