Monopoly has been and will forever be, in this writer's eyes, a terrible and infuriating game meant only to tear families and friendships apart. Setting aside the traumatic childhood experiences that involve board flipping and shouting matches with siblings and people once known as close friends, Monopoly is also problematic from a more thoughtful point of view. What can be said about a game that encourages cut-throat, red-blooded capitalism in such a blatant manner to such young, impressionable minds as those of children and college students when the WiFi isn't working?
Still, despite these concerns, Monopoly is an incredibly popular game; it has over 11 million likes on Facebook, after all, and those numbers just don't lie. And Monopoly is, to its credit, a versatile game; it comes in numerous editions that encapsulate any number of themes, ranging from Disney films to zombies. The game has a new incarnation for every generation and market, making it a sort of cultural icon in America, no matter how infuriating it may be, much like tabloid magazines and commercialism.
Speaking of commercialism, it has once again made its way in cahoots with Monopoly, in a perfectly blatant way. For the board game's newest installation, Monopoly Empire, Hasbro decided to host a Facebook tournament that it labeled "Battle of The Brands," where in which various brands battled on Facebook to see who could gain 5,000 likes the fastest on individual Facebook pages set up for the event. While there was no grand prize for the individual companies for winning, fans of the winning group's page received a $5.00 coupon off of a purchase of the board game.
Over the course of two hours, various pages received drastically different outcomes; the page for Carnival Cruises soared past the 5,000 mark in no time, quickly securing its place as the champion. Chevrolet and Beats by Dre made it to about 2,000 likes in the course of the two hours, while Yahoo and Nestle, despite their best efforts, only secured about 200 likes during the time period. Other pages, like EA and eBay, seemed to forget about the competition entirely; they didn't post any messages to rally support during the two hours.
As David Griner puts it,"While it may not be a true test of brand potency, today's challenge sure is a telling reminder that there's a big difference between having a lot of fans and knowing how to put them to use."[Image courtesy of the Monopoly Facebook announcement.]