I hate monopolies, especially government run ones, but I like Monopoly, the Hasbro board game. I rarely play now so my fondness may be nostalgic, yet I noticed their recent gimmick in the news: inviting fans to vote for new game play tokens to replace familiar old ones.
Hasbro likely generates millions of dollars in free publicity with this token election, so kudos to them for this clever publicity stunt.
Earlier this month, they released results of the latest election. Participants gave a thumbs-down to three classic game pieces – the boot, the thimble and the wheelbarrow, replacing them with a penguin, a rubber ducky and a T-Rex.
Monopoly is just a board game and Hasbro can do whatever it wants with its products. but I think the results are very telling.
The ousted tokens are symbols of old fashioned, physical blue collar work while the new ones are about playtime and things kids like.
A rubber ducky bath toy, a cute penguin that mostly exists as a plush toy, and a T-Rex, a dinosaur that was a fearsome predator some 66 million years ago but now only exists as a Disneyfied cartoon character.
Booting tokens linked to physical labour seems to be part of a trend.
In 2013, the masses voted to expunge the classic iron token, replacing it with a kitty-cat.
For now, the car and battleship remain but some may see them as symbols of CO2 emissions and the military-industrial complex so it’s just a matter of time before they end up on the scrapheap in favour of kinder, gentler playthings.