Did Viral Marketing Damage the Hasbro Brand?

2 min read

A few days ago Hasbro launched a free online version of Monopoly called Monopoly City Streets that makes use of Google Maps in order for players to be able to purchase locations across the globe. I too have begun playing this monopoly game thinking it’s going to be a lot of fun. The game is a bit like the original board game with a drop of ‘Age of Empires’. You purchase a street and start building on it. You then earn rent based on the size if the building and what street it’s on. Basically, you earn money and expand… it’s that easy.

The game is the brainchild of Hasbro’s U.K. agency, Tribal DDB and the concept itself is fantastic. But there seems to be a long way now from the original concept of creating a massive multi-player game to leverage the Hasbro brand and promote the coming 3D version of the board game and what we have.

By all accounts there are 1.7 million unique users and the interest seems to have overwhelmed the servers leading to frustration and disappointment. Further, the game has already prone to chronic cheating. I think people are cheating by creating more than one account and then selling the property cheaply to their main account. I just don’t want to see it turn into a cheating feast to see who can create the most accounts and money launder the most. But Perhaps cheating is how the real world works anyways.

Not surprisingly, what was touted as the “biggest land grab of 2009″ has turned into another online fiasco of overloaded servers and massive cheating. This has resulted in yet another brand damaged by poor execution and consideration for the details. I give the folks at Tribal DDB 5 stars for the idea. 1 star to the team supporting and managing this imploding disaster. To add insult to injury, I believe that they are going to ‘re-start’ the game and those poor soles having invested many hours finding streets, selecting just the right location for that building and even trying build a neat community will loose this and need to it down to ‘a learning experience’. The official blog site is now littered with frustrated posted and company apologies.

Clearly, a lesson in not what to do for a client in viral marketing.