A major travesty is happening inside the walls of the United States largest Toy Manufacture and one of the worlds most famous board games will soon tell us how the US is not bigger than the Internet. It could be a marketing flaw (or plan) or it could be by design, but if we don’t hurry up and do something we might see the US being shut out of the latest version of Monopoly.
I found out about the new Monopoly Game (Here and Now: World Version) solely because I was on site as a vendor doing some training for the new content management system they purchased (CommonSpot). I happened to be there the week that the site first launched. And when it launched – it launched with a bang – a huge bang.
The new Monopoly site launched on Tuesday January 29th and it recorded more traffic then all of the web sites owned by Hasbro – combined! That’s more than hasbro.com, transformers.com, playskool.com – over 50 of the top toy branded sites were eclipsed by the madly popular voting site.
Site visitors are encouraged to register and vote for their favorite city. Top cities are are already registered and you can vote on up to 10 cities a day. Additionally, you can “write-in” your own favorite city if it doesn’t appear on the site already. Rumor has it the “write-in’s” will make up the two purple slots – previously held by Baltic and Mediterranean. The site is actually a good idea and while its usability leaves much to be desired it will not be the focus of this post. What I came to talk about was the poor showing amongst the US major cities.
When I first visited the site a few weeks ago, New York was in 3rd Place ( which put it as the 3rd highest property on the board – or Pacific Ave.). Since the last time I visited I have seen no commercials on television, no website ads, no magazine ads and nothing on the news (except for this morning). New York has now slipped to 9th place. On top of that – Canada (which holds the top spot) has 2 cities in the top 20 – and holds the 21st spot with Toronto. Some other notables posting higher vote percentages than any US City – Latvia, South Africa, Serbia, and Turkey (holy crap!).
So my question is this:
1.) Is this a hugest marketing blunder in US History (again no commercials, no web ads, no articles or TV appearances)
2.) Is this a calculated marketing push to push the Monopoly game into the hands of foreign buyers at a time when the US market is at a record low
3) Or – is this just a hint of the power of the Internet and Viral Marketing at its best. I didn’t even now that they sold Monopoly in Latvia. I would guess maybe South Africa but Latvia ?? (kind of cool if you think about it).
I did see my first TV appearance today on the Fox News channel (Sunday morning on a station that probably has the lowest news ratings for that time slot than any other network). They had the Monopoly bus and a Uncle Pennybags look-a-like whooping it up with the host. It is possible that other morning news networks (a spot where I could see this kind of marketing being effective) are working the story but as of right now there is only 11 days left.
I don’t see the US getting the top spot I guess I am more concerned about it not getting a spot at all but I would say it certainly deserves to be in the top 3 and would be an undiably better choose for Boardwalks postion than Montreal.
So, I know that you wives have you going to HDTV.com to win the 2008 Dream Home (you can give up now on that because I will clearly be the winner) – but I must implore you to vote today (and every day – for the next 11 days). And don’t vote for your city (Portland and Orlando will never make it). Just vote for the front runner – have some pride and save the heritage of this wonderful game!