KEN HAKUTA, ALSO known as Dr. Fad, may be the king of trendiness, at least in Washington. Hakuta is the guy who graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School and went to work at the World Bank as an assistant project evaluation officer. A few years ago, he threw off the mantle of respectability and became a "Doctor of Fadology," a title conferred upon Hakuta by his friends after he made a million dollars marketing Wacky Wallwalkers, rubber octopus-shape critters that shimmy down the walls.
Now Hakuta is up to something new -- promoting other people's fads through his Fad-of-the-Month Club.
"It's been an evolution," says Dr. Fad. "First I started my fad hotline." The hotline gives people advice about their inventions. "People are always asking for help with distributing, so I said, 'Okay. I'll choose the top 10 products and offer them through a Fad-of-the-Month Club.' "
The club, which doesn't charge membership fees, will bring in no income for Hakuta. He says it's just a friendly way for people interested in fads to see what everybody else is doing and find out how to order the products if they want to see them. Hakuta doesn't think he'll be able to offer fads every month, though. "Maybe two fads in one month or no fads for four months," he says. He'll choose them from entries he receives over his hotline or from the 30 to 40 ideas he gets every day in the mail. Entries for inclusion or inquiries about the mailing list can be sent to: Dr. Fad, P.O. Box 11777, Washington, D.C. 20008.
Dr. Fad's current Top 10 offers, as he describes them: 1. Insect Hammer -- "For the people who are tired of killing insects with wimpy sprays and swatters." 2. Lady Finger -- "A can opener shaped like the finger of the inventor's 21- year-old sister." (It's used to open flip-top cans.) 3. Boy Lures -- "A creative woman from Brooklyn took fishing lures and made earrings. They're like latex sardines. A better way for women to catch boys. You wouldn't want to wear them to the aquarium." 4. Scary Movie Blanket -- "If you like to go to scary movies and you want to drag along a security blanket, this is for you. It's small, and the blanket comes in a box shaped like a coffin." 5. The Leg -- "A local item, created by Byron Swetland of Gaithersburg. A life-size dummy leg -- you can hang it out your car window or slam your trunk on it. It goes with those signs that say 'Ex-wife' or 'Ex-husband in Trunk.' " 6. Pull 5 -- "An executive stress increaser -- there are already a lot of stress relievers. Executives like for you to think they are under a lot of stress. Stress gives them self-worth. Well, this is a magnetic stick, and you try to pull metal rings out of a box with it. It's very frustrating." 7. Hang-Up Helper -- "Everybody has people they want to get off the phone, but they don't want to be rude. You rub this crinkle foil over the receiver, and it sounds like static." 8. Enditol -- "For people with gigantic headaches. It's a paper dynamite stick with a fuse. It looks like a short salami sausage that could be used to blow your headache right out of your head." 9. Shoulder Pals -- "Furry pets that look like pieces of carpet, actually. You put them on your shoulder and you pat them on the back, and the static electricity makes them move up and down like they're alive." 10. Dismem-Bear -- "There are too many cuddly bears. This one has all the heads and limbs stuck on by Velcro. You can pull the leg off and say, 'This is for the rude bus driver,' or whatever. At the end of the day you can put him back together and take him to bed with you. Or if you're really mean, you can put the head where the legs were, the arms where the head was, etc."