Brand Monopoly: Give me...Samsung?

March 13, 2014

When I was ten years old, I wasn’t certain of much. I knew I wanted to wear goggles like James Worthy, I was positive “The Flight of the Navigator” was the high-point of American cinema and that I never, ever wanted to live on Baltic Ave (and don’t you dare bring up Metropolitan). These two purple Monopoly properties were the very embodiment of skid row. Who cares if you have 3 hotels—not one wants to stay there. Give me Park Place any day. Or Marvin Gardens with their alluring, well, gardens. If Baltic Ave was a brand it was for the dingy dollar store or cheap shoe place. Today, it's the Transformers who inhabit Baltic. They live very happily next to Nerf.

When I saw that Monopoly was creating yet another version of its classic—this one for brands—I was immediately interested. I was fresh off an epic-winning streak of the logo game; I was ready for another branding game. But the more I thought about, the odder the fit seemed. Monopoly is a game with a clear hierarchy. You don't need to guess which properties are better. You don’t have an opinion that can convince anyone that St. Charles Place is better than Atlantic Ave.

Marketers are always trying to associate their brand with brands that can help them grow. Whether you are talking about co-branding, the Intel strategy, or movie product placements these are not new ideas. But is Monopoly a good place for brand:

I assumed that only someone who deals in brands for a living would worry about these questions. I could not have been more wrong. This past Sunday night, my wife and our 16 year old sat down for a game. Before we even picked our playing pieces, the questions began.

Maybe I’m reading too much into family fun time, but aside from a little awareness, what is this doing for these brands? Maybe they should sponsor Risk? At least Geico and Progressive could duke it out once and for all….

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