Is Hasbro trolling Millennials with its new Monopoly game sold by Walmart?

Discussion
Source: Hasbro
Nov 20, 2018
Tom Ryan

Hasbro has come out with a Millennial-themed Monopoly set in which players are rewarded with experiences rather than real estate. The game, which is currently exclusive to Walmart, has faced a backlash on social media for over-playing Millennial stereotypes and outright offending those in the generation.

The game’s front cover reads, “Forget real estate. You can’t afford it, anyway.” The back states, “Adulting is hard. You deserve a break from the rat race!”

Players collect experiences by visiting “the hottest destinations … From your friend’s couch to the vegan bistro to a week-long meditation retreat.Other stops on the board include Farmer’s Market, Thrift Shop, Parents’ Basement, 3-Day Music Festival and Yoga Studio.

Players collect money when they land on “destinations” they’ve discovered first. The player “who collects the most Experience — not the most money — wins!”

The game’s mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags, is shown on the cover with earbuds and sunglasses, carrying a coffee to-go cup, snapping a selfie and wearing a medal labeled “participation.” Tokens depict emojis, a camera, bike, hashtag and sunglasses.

On social media, some found the game patronizing to Millennials that are often depicted as challenged to cover rent.

Among the negative Twitter responses:

  • “You trash on my age demographic because baby boomers caused an economic catastrophe that rendered us financially impotent for a decade? Thanks!”
  • “The rules are simple, you start with no money, you can’t afford anything, the board is on fire for some reason and everything is your fault.”
  • “Millennial Monopoly is the most condescending game ever created.”

Others saw humor in the game and say Millennials are too easily offended.

Hasbro defended the game in a statement: “We created Monopoly for Millennials to provide fans with a lighthearted game that allows Millennials to take a break from real life and laugh at the relatable experiences and labels that can sometimes be placed on them. With many of us being Millennials ourselves, we understand the seemingly endless struggles and silly generalizations that young Millennials can face (and we can’t even!).”

Walmart was out-of-stock on the game at last check online and third-party sellers have been selling it at significantly higher prices on eBay, Etsy and even walmart.com.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Did Hasbro strike the right tone with Monopoly for Millennials or is it offensive to members of the generation? Should retailers stock the game or shy away?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"From a marketing point of view this game checks lots of boxes. It has a sense of humor, a little attitude, and many of the references hit close to home (hence the frustration)"
"Yes, it’ll offend Millennials, avocado toast and all, but it will also sell a lot of games."
"...we live in times where one person’s good-natured chuckle is another person’s grounds for litigation. This is a clear case of, “Caveat Venditor.”"

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12 Comments on "Is Hasbro trolling Millennials with its new Monopoly game sold by Walmart?"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

How perfectly ironic that some Millennials are trolling this game online! I’m getting one for my Millennial who, thankfully, can take a joke.

Ray Riley
BrainTrust

As a Millennial I’m incredibly unoffended; a bit of controversy sells, and would be some fun at the holiday table with the extended family. I think there’s an opportunity for Hasbro to come out with Monopoly Generations where the concepts of assisted living, inheritance, and wills are a factor. That way all generations receive some ribbing to get the holiday season going!

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

This is a fascinating story! If people are offended, then to them it is obviously offensive. I respect and appreciate their frustrations. However, from a purely marketing point of view, this game is checking lots of boxes. It has a sense of humor, a little attitude, and many of the references hit close to home (hence the frustration). In today’s market, outrage often garners clicks, and clearly the clicks have been good for conversions – and ahem, conversations, which will likely lead to more clicks.

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

Millennials are offended too easily. I know quite a few, and am the father of one. Lighten up, guys and gals.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

I’m weary of treating Millennials as a separate species. I think if I were one, I’d be irritated too. Rocket mortgage is certainly not for baby boomers. So the “experience vs thing” thing has grown tiresome. It’s not real. It’s a function of age.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust

I laughed out loud several times reading the description, so I would say, spot on Hasbro! I’m not sure Walmart is the best outlet, seems like something that would do well in online sales, and maybe select stores that carry it ironically because their services or clientele are very Millennial driven. I’m really tempted to buy this for the novelty and whip it out at my Friendsgiving. Now how do we script side rules to turn this into a drinking game?

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I think it’ll prove a flop. There’s a lot of good fun in the titles and concept. But the idea of “experience” over “money” reminds me of the mythology of the New Soviet Man. A bit of moralizing silliness in this case – and moralizing is bad marketing.

Were I a merchant, I’d stay away from this one. No need to end up with a big January back stock of kitsch that’ll end up being sold off at a loss.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust
To me there are really two issues here: the specific, i.e., is this game offensive to Millennials or not; and the general, i.e., is trading in stereotypes ever a good business? Let me answer the first one first. As I have written here and elsewhere, nothing makes less sense to me than assuming that ALL members of ANY demographic cohort behave, respond, etc. in exactly the same way. So, yes, to the hyper-politically correct Millennial stereotype, worried about encroaching micro-aggressions, the game is offensive. To a member of the cohort who finds her or his peers a bit over the top, it’s probably funny. Now, for the second point. As an Irish-American I cringe ever St. Patrick’s Day when loads of people walk around proudly displaying, “Kiss Me, I’m, S#@tfaced,” green tee shirts or wearing leprechaun hats. It’s dumb and exalts a fundamentally derogatory ethnic stereotype. If a similar approach was taken toward other ethnicities there would be protests in the streets. And I guess that’s my point. The commercial exploitation of a gross generalization… Read more »
Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Yes, it’ll offend Millennials, avocado toast and all, but it will also sell a lot of games. Next, Hasbro should mock Baby Boomers…there are a lot of ways to mock us!

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

This will surely offend some Millennials, and cause others to laugh. I wonder if the true target market of this game wasn’t really Millennials, but parents of Millennials who will buy it as gifts for their Millennial kids not just because they “get the joke” but because they believe the stereotypes the game is leveraging! In the end, it’s just a game and people should accept that.

Jennifer McDermott
BrainTrust

What is more hilarious; this game’s premise, or the notion that anyone would actually be offended? Of course Hasbro are trolling the generation, none of whom are potential players. It’s targeting press coverage and confused, gift-getting uncles and aunties.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Jeez! Oversensitive much? (And if they’re really upset, perhaps they should turn their attention to how 18-20 year old adults have been increasingly marginalized over the past four decades).

That having been said, Monopoly without the real estate seems pointless. Yes, I could forgive the specialized versions — the Atlantic City origins of the original being lost on most people anyway — but not being able to build your hotels? Heresy.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"From a marketing point of view this game checks lots of boxes. It has a sense of humor, a little attitude, and many of the references hit close to home (hence the frustration)"
"Yes, it’ll offend Millennials, avocado toast and all, but it will also sell a lot of games."
"...we live in times where one person’s good-natured chuckle is another person’s grounds for litigation. This is a clear case of, “Caveat Venditor.”"

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