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February 8th, 2013


Breaking news: Ironing sucks.

And apparently, so do irons of all sizes, as Monopoly’s iconic game piece, the iron, has been discontinued. Shoved into a community chest for good. Told to go straight to jail and to collect $0 for passing “Stop.” (Who’s burning who now, iron?)

In a clever feat of digital marketing to create buzz for their popular board game this past week, Hasbro launched a Facebook contest called “Save Your Token.” And people from all over the world voted to eliminate the iron – and replace it with…(drumroll)…a cat. (I’ll stick with my top hat, thank you. And I bid you adieu.)

What made this campaign so effective, you ask? Well…

  • It engaged the target audience. (Anyone who likes to spend five hours playing a board game. Along with anyone with fond Monopoly memories.)
  • It gave people (specifically, cat people) a reason to buy another version of the same board game. Again. (I have six Monopolys. And one Advance To Boardwalk.)
  • It created buzz amid a loud, crowded sea of Xboxes, Wiis, and ColecoVisions.
  • And best of all, it got people talking about Monopoly again.

Because sometimes, to remind people how much they love something, you have to give them a glimpse of what life is like without it. Remember New Coke? Or when Burger King took away The Whopper? Or when Baltimore took away our football team and then won two Super Bowls with it? (Yeah, we’re still bitter.)

So, whether you’re taking away the product they love, or giving it a voice (Dort, is that you?), getting people to talk about your brand in a fresh way is equivalent to owning all four railroads with hotels on Park Place and Boardwalk. Then, it’s game over, and loser has to put away the game. And iron my shirts for me. (See opening line.)

And then we play Bugles.