Hasbro’s new Millennial Monopoly—PR genius or mistake? 

by | Dec 6, 2018 | Analysis, Public Relations

Monopoly is such a well-known board game that when someone says “monopoly,” you’re probably more likely to think of the game rather than the concept. Hasbro, the company behind the game, recently come out with “Millennial Monopoly,” and it’s gotten a lot of attention—but not always for the right reasons.

As the name infers, this latest edition of Monopoly is all about the generation that gets a lot of flak—the new edition is full of references and jokes about stereotypes of the lifestyle and struggles of millennials.

But according to the twitterverse, a lot of people aren’t laughing

The games tagline reads: “Forget real estate, you can’t afford it anyway.” In response, Emily Roehler from Fox News tweeted, ‘What?! @Hasbro’s #Millennial Monopoly says “forget real estate, you can’t afford it anyway.” Hopefully they’ll be donating the proceeds to student debt relief (which is why millennials can’t afford real estate).”

Hasbro’s new Millennial Monopoly—PR genius or big mistake? 

Twitter was filled with cutting commentary on how the new version vilifies millennials, ignoring the social and economic conditions that currently exist as a result of actions of the generations before them.

Mike Doyle from Bustle wrote, “Many of us are probably irked by Hasbro’s new version of the game because it plays on some pretty tired stereotypes of our generation. In reality, the family wealth of millennials is 34 percent lower than earlier generations and projected to get worse, according to Bloomberg. While Baby Boomers experienced decades of healthy financial markets that allowed them to pay off mortgages and debts, says Bloomberg, millennials lived through a recession weighed down by student loan debt and low wages, the effects of which are still being felt nearly 10 years later.”

Hasbro’s new Millennial Monopoly—PR genius or big mistake? 

On the other hand, there have been some social media coverage expressing amusement at the satirical edition

“The more I learn about #MonopolyForMillennials the better it gets. I must own this game,” read a tweet by @TylerMason.

Another supporter of the game @bethwithanf tweeted, “I love how offended people are over the Millennial edition of Monopoly. It’s satire but more than anything, it depicts us all so well and the fact that it offends people, shows that it is, in fact, accurate.”

Despite the criticism, Hasbro released a statement to defend the game, noting some of its staff are millennials

“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… Whether you are a lifestyle vlogger, emoji lover or you make your ‘side hustle’ selling vegan candles, Monopoly for Millennials is for you!”

The game is currently selling at Walmart for $19.82, and Walmart’s stock ran out shortly after the release of the game. So, in terms of sheer numbers, Hasbro hasn’t done so bad.

While strictly a monetary perspective, the game might bring in the bucks. The problem with the game, however, is that the joke isn’t that great. Making fun of Millennials for not having money or owning a home is not only grim but also something we’ve heard over and over again. I vote it as a public relations “no.”

Hasbro’s new Millennial Monopoly—PR genius or big mistake? 

Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian founded 5WPR, a leading PR agency..