Good and Bad PR: Hasbro miscalculates its Ms. Monopoly launch but we all love the cats (hotel)

Good PR

Deep in the heart of the Essex countryside is a hotel that’s been getting some decent media coverage this week; but it’s not your usual hotel.

It has everything guests could want and need, from luxurious food and furnishings, to spa treatments and 23 elegant suits. Except, all of its guests are of the feline variety.

The Lawlor Cat Hotel is priced at £20-£25 per room (three-night minimum stay) and even offers a fancy chauffer service to city kitties that need a lift to the hotel.

You really have to see the pictures to believe that this place exists, but it really does. The Metro wrote a piece on the hotel, which also picked up coverage on Pretty 52, in local Essex press and further afield. 

Although the hotel was apparently at full capacity during August and at times has a waiting list of more than 10 cat owners, this recent national coverage will surely give bookings even more of a boost.

Cat guests can enjoy lounging on their own personal sofa or bunkbed, whilst eating a feast of foods like smoked salmon, king prawns, cream cheese/caviar canapes and bacon-wrapped monkfish. 50g of the finest caviar will set the owners back £160 if they want to go all out for their feline companion. In the spa, they can even get a grooming treatment – including a “Brazilian hygiene clip” (don’t ask!) for £65.

Some people really do have too much money for sense, hey? You have to hand it to the Lawlor Cat Hotel though, as it’s had some very decent write-ups.

Bad PR

Hasbro has been getting some mixed coverage this week after launching “Ms. Monopoly”, a version of the famous board game that is apparently meant to highlight issues with the gender pay gap, but for many people completely misses the mark.

For starters, women start the game with more money than their male counterparts, which I get highlights that men often earn more than women for no reason at all other than what’s between their legs; but in my mind it just trivialises the whole thing a bit.

The game is meant to celebrate female trailblazers, but some have (rightly) taken issue with the fact that Monopoly’s female inventor Elizabeth Magie isn’t one of those women being celebrated (or even mentioned, or acknowledged, for that matter).

For a long time, an unemployed man (Charles Darrow) took the credit for inventing the game, starting in the 1930s (and swiftly become a millionaire off the back of this claim), but records show that Magie actually filed a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game (which was designed to reflect her political views and as a protest against the big monopolists that were about in her era) almost three whole decades earlier in 1903.

There’s a book all about this called The Monopolists by author Mary Pilon if you want to learn about the origins. The real, female inventor apparently only received $500 for the game. The Washington Post, Vice and Mashable are amongst the titles that call Hasbro out for not crediting Magie in this new version of the game and for a lot of people, the whole concept of Ms. Monopoly just doesn’t sit right with them.

Brands have been pulled apart left, right and centre under the watchful eye of the media in recent years for too liberally using social issues and the battle against inequality or injustices for their own gain (read: making money) and I don’t really see how Ms. Monopoly from Hasbro is any different. There’s a time and a place for brands to try and “do their bit” to help promote issues and offer a helping hand, be that through charity donations or purpose-driven awareness, but a new boardgame that is just designed to make some money really isn’t it.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter. Seen any good or bad PR lately?
You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or andy@10Yetis.co.uk on email


PRmoment Awards 2020