CAMPAIGNS: Event PR - Monopoly: entire world is on board

Client: Hasbro (Pawtucket, RI)

PR Team: Agnew Carter/MS&L (Boston)

Campaign: Monopoly Game Championship

Time Frame: April 1999 to November 2000

Budget: About dollars 250,000

Go straight to jail! Do not pass Go! Do not collect dollars 200!

Since it was developed in 1935, more than 200 million copies of the

Monopoly board game have been sold worldwide - in 80 countries and 26


Monopoly-maker Hasbro is skilled at keeping up interest in the game.

A few years ago, it conducted a high-profile campaign in which the

public picked the first new token, or game piece, in 40 years (the sack

of money won out). And, since 1973 Hasbro has sponsored periodic world

championships in the game.

Hasbro's agency Agnew Carter (AC)/MS&L planned and promoted the latest

World Championship, which was held in Toronto in October and featured

contestants from 38 countries.


The agency's work started about a year-and-a-half out. The first task

was to pick a site for the event that reflected the game's monied theme

so as to contribute to the media appeal, says Phil Gloudemans, SVP of

consumer at AC/MS&L. (In 1996, the contest was held - appropriately - in

Monte Carlo.)

Toronto was chosen because it is the Canadian banking center and a

popular city for European visitors. Organizers invited Charlie Coffey,

EVP of government and community affairs for the Royal Bank of Canada, to

serve as the Final Round Banker. Because the Monopoly game was developed

in the 1930s, they selected the Royal York Hotel, which was built in the

1930s and is still decorated in that decade's style.

The agency used the year hiatus between the national championships and

the world tournament to develop press coverage. 'With each level (state,

national and global) you get publicity,' says Gloudemans. 'When you

total up all the clips, it's a pretty amazing amount.'


The agency gave Matt Gissel, a college student from Vermont who won the

US championship in Las Vegas in October 1999, media training to prepare

him for interviews with publications. He was interviewed by The

Baltimore Sun, Money magazine and Toy Shop (for collectors). Most

importantly, he appeared on the TV show To Tell the Truth.

The PR practitioners had a simple message to convey in all their press

dealings. 'The message is that this game, which is 65 years old, is

still very popular and still a great game to play,' says Gloudemans.

'The second big message is that it's a worldwide game.'

During the world tournament, the PR agency put together a b-roll package

and worked to coordinate PR people coming from other countries.

The local press had a good angle in that the tournament was played on a

new board that had well-known Canadian properties such as Granville

Street, St. Albert Trail and Portage and Main. The tokens included a

moose, sled and hockey player. 'The Canadians took great pride in this,'

says Gloudemans.

For the final round, held October 23, the organizers made a big splash

when the five finalists, dressed in tuxedos and carrying their native

flags, were escorted into the grand ballroom by Canadian Mounties and

bagpipers. The procession was led by someone dressed as Mr.



The winner, Yutaka Okada, an economist from Japan, won with dollars

11,589 in assets. Okada's prize was a check for dollars 15,140 - the

total amount of moola in a Monopoly game.

Press coverage for the world championship included over 120 print media

impressions and placements on many top national television shows. The

broadcast coverage totaled 263 television and 20 radio placements such

as CBC, CNN, Fox, and ABC shows Good Morning America and World News


USA Today approached the event as if it were the World Series, with

coverage including a weekend item beforehand and an article on the day

of the finals.


The next national Monopoly championships will take place in 2003. A site

has not yet been selected.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in