Media: Strategy Analysis - The biggest ever game of Monopoly

Brand: Monopoly "Here and Now" Client: Hasbro Brief: Launch the limited edition board game Monopoly "Here and Now" Target audience: All adults with a core target of mums with children aged eight to 13 Budget pounds: 500,000 AGENCIES Media: OMD UK Creative: DDB London Interactive: Tribal DDB PR: Brazen PR

STRATEGY

Monopoly "Here and Now" was launched in June 2005 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the classic board game. The board was updated to reflect modern-day London, with new movers, new locations and new property prices.

The challenge was to re-ignite people's passion for Monopoly, while communicating the new board game's changes. DDB London and Tribal DDB encouraged consumers to play Monopoly Live, a game of Monopoly played out on the streets of London with black cabs as the playing pieces, and a grand prize of your mortgage or rent paid for a year.

OMD planned an integrated campaign, with TV, radio, PR and word-of-mouth activity promoting both the "Here and Now" board game and the "Live" game.

EXECUTION

- Interactive: To play Monopoly Live, players registered online, chose their piece, represented by a taxi, and decided where to spend their £15 million capital. Eighteen Monopoly-branded taxis were fitted with GPS transmitters. As the taxi drove around London, the player paid rent as their cab passed properties they didn't own, and received rent when other cabs passed their properties.

People could also SMS for Chance and Community Chest cards, equivalent to bonus cash.

- TV: The campaign targeted appointment-to-view programming over the week, including a spot in the eviction night of Big Brother.

- Radio: A national radio campaign delivered a high level of frequency over the week, making sure that the launch of the game would not be missed.

- Online advertising: Online marketing included advertising across major portals and ownership of the Yahoo! UK homepage on launch day.

- PR and word of mouth: Brazen PR's campaign placed articles in the Financial Times, The Times, the Evening Standard and Esquire magazine in the week before launch. Tribal DDB also seeded the site in discussion forums.

Through this activity, around 10,000 pre-registrations were obtained.

Continuing PR during the course of the promotion obtained coverage on BBC World's Click Online show, as well as wired.com and online media publications.

RESULTS

Monopoly "Here and Now" is already one of the best-selling board games of 2005. The PR coverage generated alone was worth well over £2 million to Hasbro - nearly five times the cost of the entire campaign.

During the 28 days the site was live, more than one million people visited the website and 189,699 people played Monopoly Live. Hasbro's CRM database was bolstered by nearly 100,000 opted-in users, keen to hear about new developments from Hasbro. The game is now a valuable asset for Hasbro, and there are plans possibly to develop the idea further.

THE VERDICT - Iain Jacob chief executive, Starcom

One of my less successful presentations ended in my client (an ex-American football player) leaning back and saying: "Son, you're breathing your own exhaust."

While I'm sure that my thinking was integrated, interactive and indeed "resonant", I had proposed something that I found interesting, in the glorious absence of any real understanding of the consumer.

I think this strategy might be suffering from the same problem. Superficially, this work looks spot-on - the new contemporary twist on an icon, bought to life with the technology that has touched all of our lives.

While undoubtedly a well-crafted and elegantly executed idea, ultimately this does appear to be a case of execution over insight.

I am not sure how many of Hasbro's target audience - "mums with children aged eight to 13" - the team had talked to, but this exercise in PR appeared to largely miss them.

With PR in the Financial Times, Esquire, the BBC's Click Online show and even wired.com, I am convinced that our own "community" was widely covered. But wired.com and mums with kids? Unless wired.com has become a help site for mums that are pushed too close to the edge on the school run, this just doesn't feel right.

The results look mouthwatering at first sight: 190,000 online players - wow. But hold on, how many hassled mums are really following the journey of their chosen black cab and texting regularly while cooking the fish fingers? More importantly, how does this magnificent number actually create sales? It sounds as if the online experience doesn't need you to get down to Hamley's and spend some money.

"Here and Now" may have been a success for Hasbro. I am sure much of that is down to the TV and radio advertising that ran nationally to make sure "the launch would not be missed".

However, much of the energy and effort on this campaign has been expended behind an approach that doesn't appear to be rooted in any real target audience behaviour or motivation.

While this is a finely crafted and extremely clever piece of work, ultimately it will have done more for the digital literati than for the school-run mums. As my American client once said: "Son, you're breathing your own exhaust."

SCORE: 2/5.

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