February 7, 2013

Facebook voters unplug iron, adopt cat as Monopoly piece

By RODRIQUE NGOWI, The Associated Press

PAWTUCKET, R.I. - The Scottie dog has a new nemesis in Monopoly after fans voted in an online contest to add a cat token to the property trading game, replacing the iron, toy maker Hasbro Inc. announced Wednesday.

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IN: The cat by 31 percent of the vote

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OUT: The iron, in a tight race

The results were announced after the shoe, wheelbarrow and iron were neck and neck for elimination in the final hours of voting that sparked passionate efforts by fans to save their favorite tokens, and by businesses eager to capitalize on the publicity.

The Facebook vote closed just before midnight Tuesday, marking the first time that fans have had a say on which of the eight tokens to add and which one to toss. The pieces identify the players and have changed quite a lot since Parker Brothers bought the game from its original designer in 1935.

Rhode Island-based Hasbro announced the new piece Wednesday morning.

The cat beat out the robot, diamond ring, helicopter and guitar, getting 31 percent of votes for new tokens.

"I think there were a lot of cat lovers in the world that reached out and voted," said Jonathan Berkowitz, vice president for Hasbro gaming marketing.

The Scottie dog was the most popular of the classic tokens, and received 29 percent of the vote, the company said. The iron got the fewest votes and was kicked to the curb.

The online contest to change the tokens was sparked by chatter on Facebook, where Monopoly has more than 10 million fans. The initiative was intended to ensure that a game created nearly eight decades ago remains relevant and engaging today.

"Tokens are always a key part of the Monopoly game ... and our fans are very passionate about their tokens," Berkowitz said. The tokens originated when the niece of game creator Charles Darrow suggested using bracelet charms. The game is based on the streets of Atlantic City, N.J., and has sold more than 275 million units worldwide.

The other tokens currently in use are a race car, shoe, thimble, top hat, wheelbarrow and battleship. The original version also included a lantern, purse and a rocking horse. "I'm sad to see the iron go," Berkowitz said.

 

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