Will a Target-themed Monopoly game be a winner?

Discussion
Photo: Target
Jun 29, 2021

Target has partnered with Hasbro to introduce a limited-edition, Target-themed Monopoly game to debut later this summer.

To play Target Monopoly, players spin the dice and land on “Items” that they put in their red Target basket. They then head to Check Out (the Go or Free Parking spaces on the traditional game). Instead of purchasing Park Place and Boardwalk, players have a chance to land on tablets and televisions.

Mimicking the Target Circle loyalty program, players can double or triple their savings by capturing Circle tokens along the way. The player with the most savings at final checkout wins.

“Monopoly: Target Edition is the latest example of how we are always exploring new ways to spark moments of joy with all of our guests within our curated assortment of fan-favorite and Target-exclusive games and toys,” said Nik Near, SVP, hardlines, Target, in a statement.

Will a Target-themed Monopoly game be a winner?
Photo: Target

Board games took off as a result of the stay-at-home trend during the pandemic. The games and puzzles category from January through April on a two-year CAGR basis grew 34 percent, the fastest growth versus 2019 of all toy “super categories,” according to The NPD Group.  Monopoly had its best year ever for Hasbro in 2020.

Limited-edition products continue to expand as an opportunity across categories. Monopoly has come out with hundreds of limited-edition versions, including ones recently around Carnival Cruise Lines, St. Andrews golf course and Pacman’s 40th anniversary. Some fetch exorbitant prices on eBay.

Target claims to be the first retailer to have a branded Monopoly game through Hasbro.

Perhaps the unique aspect is the fact that the Monopoly partnership marks a rare branding opportunity for a retailer in the CPG space.

Apparel specialty chains such as Old Navy and Abercrombie & Fitch have made a living splaying their names across t-shirts and other products. Mega-retailers such as Amazon.com, Walmart and Costco, however, have not done much to take advantage of their name recognition as a merchandising opportunity, especially when it comes to appealing to fans with collector-type items.

Target has had some success with branded items around its Bullseye terrier mascot, including the introduction in 2018 of a Target Bullseye Funko Pop! figure.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How popular do you expect the Target-themed Monopoly game to be with the retailer’s customers? Do you expect Target and other retailers to launch more of their own-themed merchandise for loyal customers and collectors?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is another example of how Target is building its brand through dynamic partnerships. "
"So let’s think about the wisdom of a retail company voluntarily associating itself with the word “Monopoly.” Sorry — I drifted for a moment."
"My first reaction? Wow! This is outstanding! I want the dog piece, shopping basket piece, and coffee cup piece. Then I read deeper and my enthusiasm disappeared..."

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28 Comments on "Will a Target-themed Monopoly game be a winner?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

What’s a board game? 😉

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Ha! We spoke at the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) this year. Rich and I were blown away by the depth and dedication of the people who run these stores. Board games as we know them go far beyond what we see in most stores. I watched a man set up a game that depicted a war fought in Italy in the 1800s. He had hundreds of hand painted soldiers, props and other game pieces. 20 people came to play for hours. Nothing electronic is sold in the stores. We were so intrigued!

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Great point Georganne. Sarcasm aside, no doubt there is a following for Monopoly and board games in general and your first-hand experience at GAMA is proof. And while board games may never compete with the wildly addictive and immersive nature of online games today, they have their place.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Board games were big, especially because of the pandemic, but the immersion games like Dungeons & Dragons and a host of others we hadn’t heard of before researching the stores were the highlight. Most of the stores have huge areas set up so gamers can play together in-store. Really cool.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

“Target Monopoly” (sounds like an antitrust case!) may not be a huge seller but it’s a very clever branding idea. Target has more than its share of brand ambassadors and aficionados, compared to the competition, so this collaboration with another well-known brand will reinforce that emotional connection. Props also to Hasbro, which has extended the Monopoly life cycle for years through various licensing deals and other collaborations.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

I think this will be a winner. A lot of consumers are affectionate about Target and will buy products associated with the brand. The fact that it is a limited collection will also create a sense of urgency. On top of this, board games enjoyed something of a revival during the pandemic – in both sales and usage. Ultimately, this will be a drop in the ocean in revenue terms, but it’s a smart idea and great from a branding perspective.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

I love it and so will all the Target devotees.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Target has a loyal fan base and some will find the new twist on the nostalgic Monopoly game fun. Board games had a resurgence during the pandemic and the Target-themed Monopoly game is a great way to make an old game new. This is a clever move by Target and I suspect other retailers may emulate this strategy with other branded merchandise that will appeal to their loyal customers.

David Leibowitz
BrainTrust

As a holiday gift to their own employees? Sure. Other than that, I’m not so sure.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

My first reaction was, “Why not?!” Target has become a part of our lives. Very few brands have done that, such as Amazon, Walmart, etc. A limited edition Monopoly game is brilliant, fun, and one day will be worth a lot of money as a collector’s item. It may not make a lot of money, but it doesn’t matter. Look at the PR they are getting. And it’s fun!

Christine Russo
BrainTrust

So cute! But a novelty item, at best. The branding play is charming and I could see other sets working, like Starbucks for example. These retailers have moved beyond commoditization and are woven into people’s lives to truly spark joy and bring delight.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

There are over 20 or so limited editions of Monopoly – what’s one more? This definitely will be a fun addition to gift giving for them.

Jennifer Bartashus
BrainTrust

This is another example of how Target is building its brand through dynamic partnerships. It is interesting to see the company’s progression from occasional designer partnerships to company partnerships, such as this one with Hasbro and bigger ones like Ulta. All of these moves help keep Target top-of-mind with shoppers and brand loyalists, and pave the way for more unique items that might not be private label but can’t be bought anywhere else.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Even as a limited edition, I don’t think Target Monopoly will be the toy of the season but it’s a smart move. And a very Target move.

The team at Target does a wonderful job expressing its cool factor. They get marketing like no other retailer by consistently offering unexpected things customers love.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

I’m fine with it as long as I don’t have to play it. If I were a kid and got this for Christmas, boy would I be unhappy!

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust
Carol Spieckerman
President, Spieckerman Retail
2 months 25 days ago

Target is one retailer that can pull this off. Name recognition is only one factor, brand affinity is what makes these deals viable. More interesting is the uptick in retailer-branded licensing activity including Gap’s recent home goods play with Walmart. Clearly, retailers are spreading their wings once again and making bets on their brand equity.

Venky Ramesh
BrainTrust

This is an amazing way to build brand loyalty – hats off to Target and Hasbro for coming up with the idea. Engaging customers in an experiential, fun, and memorable way is sure to work. I think they should create an online version of it where customers can discover deals, engage with brands and even purchase!

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

I’m usually quick to say that a brand promise has boundaries, but the fact that Target can even think about this kind of extension, and then have Hasbro execute it, is a giant feather in their cap. Kudos to Target and Hasbro!

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I don’t expect Target Monopoly to break any sales records, but I 100 percent endorse the idea of investing in content that also builds brand. I only hope that less-than-stellar sales don’t discourage Target (or other retailers who may be watching to see how this product fares) from continuing to look for ways to engage consumers with content “for content’s sake” that also happens to help build brand equity.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

Great marketing play. I still have a collector’s edition Star Wars Monopoly set and a dot-com Monopoly set with some of the original dot-com companies – many of which are now out of the mainstream but were super hot at the time: fandom site here. Any game that has a fandom site will have enthusiasts, so even if sales are limited there will be brand value created. The best example of themed merchandise comes from Disney with over $54 billion in licensed consumer product sales. For retailers who seek marketing and brand value, there is long runway.

John Fugazzie
Guest
2 months 25 days ago

I think co-branding like this is great, but companies have to know the history of the brands they support. There have been a lot of versions of Monopoly through the years and it’s a great way for Hasbro to expand their brand and sales. Partnering like this with major organizations is great. Here is an article on the history of Monopoly and here is another.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

My first reaction? Wow! This is outstanding! If nothing else, I want the dog piece, shopping basket piece, and coffee cup piece.

Then I read deeper and my enthusiasm disappears. If they had merely re-executed Monopoly but with the trappings of a Target store it would be outstanding and I’d have nothing but good things to say.

This execution sounds far too literal. I do NOT want to play “Target loyalty program” Monopoly. I don’t want savings — I want to buy properties and take over the world! That’s what’s fun in the game.

So I end up sad. it appears the brand police got too carried away and far too literal. Brand is this odd gestalt within the human mind. It thrives when companies DON’T do things like this.

Rich Duprey
Guest

This is basically a marketing ploy that will have zero impact on anything, neither Target’s business nor Monopoly sales. Why would anyone buy a Target-branded Monopoly game? No one likes a retailer so much that they think, yes! I need this. Unlike those people who had Harley-Davidson logos tattooed on their bodies, no one is living the “Target lifestyle.”

While it probably cost Target a de minimus amount to do this, really, what’s the point? Maybe they get a couple of press releases out of the maneuver, but it’s ultimately money that could have been better spent elsewhere.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust
So let’s think about the wisdom of a retail company voluntarily associating itself with the word “Monopoly.” Sorry — I drifted for a moment. Back to task, I don’t expect it will be a home run. First, as the pandemic wears down — assuming that’s what is, in fact, happening — people will want to get out of the house, not find more reasons to stay in it. Also board games are great for killing time if the whole family is stuck with each other but – as they start to go their different ways – I’m betting the majority of the kids will be setting down those tokens and picking up their game controllers. As for board game purists is it more fun to go faux shopping for the same stuff over and over again or to bankrupt your friends directly? Will they sell games? Of course. Will it be the “must have” holiday item? Not a chance. Should other retailers follow their lead? Only if they have lots of excess budget to waste… Read more »
Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

I’d like it better if one could win “real” merchandise or gift cards ….

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

Bravo, Target, for coming up with a cool way to build the brand while entertaining shoppers. It’s a unique way to enhance customer loyalty.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Branded Monopoly sets are nothing new … indeed the first commercial iteration in the ’30s was supposedly developed for a Philadelphia department store (I’ve never learned which one) and reflected its Philly/South Jersey roots in the place names. In the years since — mostly the past few decades — one would see various licensed versions tied to schools or whatever; they come and go (or at least drop off the radar). What sets this apart is the scale: a national retailer with $80B in sales and the potential to reach every household in the country.

That having been said, there’s nothing really special about the sets — other than trivial differences like space names and playing pieces — and while it will probably sell well enough, it’s not going to be — wait for it — a “game changer.”