Monopoly token promotion fires up fans

Beleaguered Hasbro, whose shares have gained only 4% over the last year, could use some positive attention at a time of disappointing overall toy sales.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 6, 2013 5:37PM
For Hasbro (HAS), it didn't matter that fans of Monopoly decided to replace the iron game token with a cat in a vote on Facebook. The purpose of the gamemaker's "Save Your Token" contest was to create buzz for the 78-year-old game -- and it seems to have done that quite well.

According to Hasbro, the company had an "amazing" response from its 10 million Facebook fans. People from more 185 countries participated in the campaign.
Interestingly, so did these corporations:
  • PepsiCo (PEP). The beverage maker's Tropicana brand backed the wheelbarrow game piece as did wheelbarrow company Ames True Temper.
  • Amazon's (AMZN) Zappos and The Jones Group's (JNY) Nine West brand campaigned for the shoe on their Facebook pages.
  • General Motors' (GM) Chevrolet and Hyundai (HYMLF) supported the race car token through social media.
  • Procter & Gamble's (PG) Duracell campaigned on its Facebook page for the toy robot, while Del Monte's 9 Lives cat food backed the cat.
  • Purina Pro Plan supported the Scottie dog.
  • Ring Pop candy backed the diamond ring.
  • Jolly Time Pop Corn and Hormel Bacon created write-in campaigns to push for popcorn and bacon tokens for the game, according to Hasbro statement provided to MSN.
The new Monopoly game featuring the cat will arrive in stores in mid-to-late 2013. The toymaker, whose shares have gained 4% over the past year, no doubt welcomes the media attention being paid to Monopoly.The newest Monopoly token, a cat, rests on the game board at Hasbro Inc. headquarters in Pawtucket, R.I. on Feb. 5, 2013 (Steven Senne/AP Photo)

Hasbro is in Wall Street's doghouse after posting lackluster fourth-quarter earnings. The company, whose other brands include Nerf, plans to cut about 10% of its workforce to reduce costs.

Hasbro declined to provide details about sales of Monopoly, which is based on the streets of Atlantic City. Toys 'R' Us sells about 20 different types of Monopoly games, including special editions, according to a spokeswoman for the retailer. 

--Jonathan Berr has never figured out how to live Park Place dreams with a Baltic Avenue bank account. He doesn't own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr

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Feb 7, 2013 1:26PM
The Cat beat out the Terrorist by a hair. Darn! I so wanted to be a Terrorist,.... I mean, Freedom Fighter.
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