Monopoly playing piece faces the axe: a masterclass in getting the spotlight back on an old product

How do you generate news coverage for your client or company when the product simply isn’t new any more? Easy: challenge people to come up with a new version then make lots of noise about it.

We’ve seen this tactic used time and time again with new flavours for the Kit Kat Chunky that the public are asked to vote to save. Walkers has also launched many bizarre new crisp flavours over the years (does anyone remember Cajun Squirrel?) in an attempt to raise its profile and, of course, boost sales.

Source: Metro.co.uk

Source: Metro.co.uk

Now Hasbro’s trying a similar approach by threatening to retire one of the iconic Monopoly playing pieces – but to really engage fans and the press, they’re asking the public to help decide which one will face the axe. Read the Metro’s write-up of the story here.

It’s a clever way to return an old (sorry, classic) product to the spotlight and really grab people’s attention without bringing out a completely new version.

When people feel very attached to something – particularly if it reminds them of their childhood – the threat of change can get everyone talking and grab lots of headlines.

Well done, Hasbro, you’ve got my vote! But will my lucky thimble survive..?

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New words added to the English language

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for our language and its phenomenal array of words, so I was delighted to see two news items both reporting on the creation of new words today.

The first examined a whole host of new words invented (knowingly or not) by the most recent Apprentice departee; the second came from this morning’s Metro which reported some of the latest additions to the Collins English Dictionary.

I’m fairly certain that the Apprentice candidate’s creations won’t become widely accepted appendages to our national language, but with obscure words like “schooligan” and “Chindonesia” now formally recognised by Collins, you never know!

I doubt many PR or marketing professionals would dare to include such words in their copy at this point for fear of being rebuked by their clients so it does seems rather odd that Collins is prepared to give them space in its dictionary already. In my opinion, it will either be a very long time before they’re widely accepted and their meanings are understood by the masses – or they’ll simply fade away before they’ve taken off.

So, are these seemingly annual Collins announcements just a ploy to grab some headlines, or is it important for the progression of our language that these words become widely accepted as soon as possible? Are they key to our nation’s continuous development? The jury’s still out.