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Dear Hasbro: A Letter Addressing a Poor Decision

December 1, 2013

Dear Hasbro,

I was very impressed when I heard that a cat would be joining the Monopoly token family. Granted you didn’t choose it; fans voted for it in an online contest, but I was glad to see it was added nonetheless.

I saw it as a tiny step toward the country ending perpetual, negative cat stereotypes. By adding a cat as a token, Americans around the nation were saying “We want this!” — or at least they saw a cat as a better choice than a robot, diamond ring, helicopter or guitar. Which may or may not be saying a lot.

Anyway, I wanted to write to you today to say thanks, but no thanks.

Thanksgiving Day I saw your commercial that “promotes” your new cat token. The potential was great, the execution was an offensive disaster.

Throughout the commercial cats are portrayed as stupid, threatening and dangerous. I can’t believe the lengths the commercial goes to in order to make the point that there’s an “easier way to play Monopoly with a cat.” I can’t decide which was worse: Making the black cat come across as a vicious creature (they have a hard enough time getting adopted), or making a cat disappear in a puff of smoke only to be replaced by a cat token. Yes, if only we could get replace our cats, life would be more enjoyable. Right. Great idea. 

I felt it was a smack in the face of the thousands of amazing people around the country who are trying to break those disparaging stereotypes in order to help place great pets in homes that deserve them. 

Here’s the irony: Hasbro was working with Petfinder to help homeless pets. From November 4 through 30, Hasbro was showing its support for Petfinder adoption groups by giving $1 for every purchase of the Monopoly Classic Game. Hasbro said it would donate up to $10,000.

What I don’t get is this: If Hasbro was essentially trying to help organizations that adopt out cats, how on earth did they think it would be a good idea to portray cats the way they did? There were so many other ways you could have shown cats interfering with a game, instead of making them come across as jerks.

I know it was all intended as a “joke”, but this joke just cost you a customer.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 1, 2013 7:56 am

    I hadn’t seen the commercial until just now. I kinda like it. Maybe I’m missing something, but I didn’t see it as disparaging cats. I did see it as showing some of the real things I face on a regular basis as one who shares my home with a cat. As I type this, I’m dodging a cat who wants to sit on my laptop while I type.

    Cats aren’t jerks. But neither are cats well-behaved people-pleasers. If June Buggie wants to lie across the game board, there’s nothing you’re going to do to stop him.

  2. Lemonmelonn permalink
    December 1, 2013 12:08 pm

    There were people with eye patches and bandages at the end of the commercial! It’s an extremely disparaging ad.

    If a person was thinking about adopting a cat, they might change their mind after seeing this. I think it’s awful

    Bravo, Amanda. Good letter.

  3. July 19, 2014 10:48 am

    I can respect your opinion, but It’s the first time I’ve ever seen it.. and I’m diggin’ it!! Real cats make terrible Monopoly tokens.. My ragdoll would kick my buttocks if I tried that (she is the anti-ragdoll)!!

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