Hold your horse!
One of the best-loved games Hasbro’s Monopoly axed a playing piece and I’m just finding out about this now? Even worse, I found out about it on Facebook – through a Zappos ad?! This game and I spent much of my childhood together, we dreamt of having a fantastic career in marketing that would afford me to really buy houses on Marvin Gardens.
Monopoly is a classic game that has been around since 1935. According to its website, by 1940 it was America’s #1 game. In 1960, it dictated urban planning – when the real Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue were going to change their names, public outcry prevented it. Over “275 million games have been sold worldwide and it’s available in 111 countries and in 43 languages (Hasbro.com).” It has been the subject of many a long night in families around the world and has turned family members against one another. So how does a game that already yields world-wide championship tournaments based on this good, wholesome fun up its game? It gets in bed with some popular partners!
Between the 80’s and the turn of the millennium, Monopoly formed some strategic partnerships. Limited edition Monopoly games with licensed characters on them started popping up everywhere to help sell movies, best-loved cartoon characters and cities, and a separate version for their football teams. Not only was it a cool way to create more depth for the brands but it expanded all of their fanbases.
About this time too, banking on the addictiveness of McDonald’s food and the thrill people get by collecting properties, McDonald’s launched the Monopoly game where the more you ate, the more chances you have to win. This game has kept up with the times truly integrating its marketing potential with its most recent version of this game driving people online! So not only did people get the playing pieces in the stores, but they had a 2nd opportunity to go online and enter ticket serial numbers there. This kept McDonalds in the forefront of consumer’s minds, long after the salty grease got licked from their fingers (Gracia, 2012). Then the online site connected to Facebook which also posted when someone played it so their friends could see.
So this reminds me… how I found out that Monopoly was melting down a playing piece, never to play again. On Monopoly’s Facebook pages were ads by Zappos stirring up customers to “Keep the shoe!” and from Morris the Cat (9-Lives catfood fame) campaigning for the cat (one of 5 new pieces you could vote from to replace the piece that would leave) (Stampler, 2013). This marketing campaign actually employs a lot of what we recently learned in “Made to Stick” regarding the marketing message. It was Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and told Stories – all in their succinct campaigns for their favorite playing pieces (Heath & Heath, 2007, 2008).
Is this the first time that Monopoly got rid of a piece? Of course not, I still remember finding my mother’s Monopoly set from when she grew up that has a wheelbarrow I’d never seen before. Is this the first successfully integrated marketing plan with Monopoly? No. They’ve had some success with partnering with the CA Lottery Scratchers as well (Anonymous, 2012). What makes you dream of Monopoly money more than playing a Scratcher? For a split second, just like in Monopoly, you dream that becoming a millionaire living on Boardwalk will be just that easy. Alas, Monopoly’s campaign being featured on the US Postal Service stamps did a lot for sharing how Monopoly is one of America’s greatest pastimes, but not even free parking was enough to help USPS’ financial woes.
In this new era, businesses – not even Monopoly – don’t want to leave it to Chance and will make sure you’re invested in their big news. Nothing is done under the board.
Who’s up for a game? I’ll let you be the banker!
CMGT 541 A
Anonymous. (March 26, 2013). ABOUT Monopoly. Retrieved from http://www.
Anonymous. (September, 2012). Lottery Launches MONOPOLYTM-Themed Scratchers®
Games. Retrieved from http://www.calottery.com/media/press-releases/press-
Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2007, 2008). Made to Stick. New York: Random House.
Stampler, L. (January 9, 2013). Monopoly’s Killing a Token and Hasbro Wants You to
Choose Which Ones Survive. BusinessInsider.com Retrieved from http://www.
All images (C) Hasbro, Disney/Pixar, CA Lottery, McDonalds