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Monopoly change their product to get people talking

23rd January 2013

It’s a brave brand that messes with its product in the name of its publicity. But that is just what the team at Hasbro has done with Monopoly’s latest PR campaign …

And I have to say that, when I saw this little gem, my hat came off to them.

First of all, they’ve created a campaign that is genuinely global leveraging their Facebook base (which numbers over ten million, though Lord knows why). Their community has got involved with alacrity.

Second of all, they’ve created some longevity with a campaign that kicked off in early January and shows no sign of abating (in fact, it appears to be picking up steam). There are a whole bunch of media and social hooks to get people talking within the core big idea.

But most of all, they’ve created a campaign that goes to the heart of the product and have decided to put themselves at the mercy of their community of users … and change it based on their whims.

For those who haven’t seen the PR (where have you been, under a rock?) and couldn’t be bothered to watch the film, Monopoly has decided to ditch one of its pieces. And they’ve decided to replace it with an entirely new one.

The story has been pretty much everywhere online. From the original announcement that they are having a vote-off amongst fans to decide which piece goes (the wheelbarrow gets it for me, always falling over), to the unveiling of its potential replacements, the whole thing is being orchestrated quite beautifully.

Not only has the news and pictures made every time, generating acres of chatter across social media, the campaign has also triggered features on the history of the game, the origins of the pieces, the works.

And why has it worked? Because a client was brave enough to make a fundamental change in their product in the name of its promotion. Doing something to the very fabric of a well-loved, globally-known brand is having the desired effect.

That’s the lesson from me. That brave clients will be willing – whether it’s a limited edition run, a trial period – to change their product to get people talking about it. This campaign does just that on a grand scale.

Meanwhile, because the PR campaign for Monopoly was brilliant but the film was rubbish and I wouldn’t want you to feel short-changed, here’s something brilliant from Nike featuring a couple of their golf stars …

There. That was better, wasn’t it?

James Gordon-MacIntosh is a managing partner at Hope&Glory PR. He’s now working on a book – Ideas of the Year: an incomplete compendium of stunts, stories and japes. He’s looking for submissions, so if you’ve got work that should be included head here.

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