My brother and I are very competitive in the classic board game, Monopoly. I always win except for a few of those times when I spent the entire game in jail. Thinking about board games, what if a company incorporated their brand into a board game? Sounds like a great opportunity for product placement, and as I found out, it is actually happening!
This article I found discusses a new "Twists and Turns" Version of The Game of Life. This game will be a more modern version of the board game in which players actually use a small, Visa credit card - instead of play money. Visa will also include money management booklets. So, yes, little Tommy and Susie will be learning how to use a credit card at their very young age. Many parents and money experts are concerned with this, as the update will "unravel the game's sage money lessons and inculcate the preteen set with a credit-card mentality." I agree with the concern somewhat. While I see the argument that if a child uses a credit in the "play" game, they may misinterpret the way it is used in the real world and lead themselves into debt. But, I think that this is a good opportunity for parents to teach their kids about money management in the real world by playing the game. I also think this is a very, very effective product placement strategy on Visa's part. Starting to encode the Visa name in the mind's of the younger generations through this game will increase their likeliness to recognize and use Visa credit cards when they grow up. Smart!
In addition to The Game of Life, Monopoly has also updated its classic version of the game to a more modernized one, called the "Here and Now" Edition. In the game, tokens include a laptop computer and a Labradoodle dog as well as branded items like a Toyota Prius, a New Balance Shoe, McDonald's French Fries, and a Motorola RAZR Mobile Headset. Landmarks featured are Boston's Fenway Park, Las Vegas Blvd., Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, and Minneapolis' Mall of America. While I am not sure if any of these companies or landmarks paid to have their product in the game, this again is a very effective use of product placement, whether free or not. People young and old may play the game and if they see the brands and locations in the game in the real world, not only will they recognize it, but they might buy the product or visit the place, as well. In turn, sales can result, and another great vehicle of product placement ensues.