Businesses paid for places on new Dublin Monopoly board

Game makers accused of ‘lacking transparency’ in selling space to companies

In the new version of the game, well-known landmarks including the Ha’penny Bridge stand alongside commercial enterprises such as the Nord Anglia International School, the restaurant chain Freshly Chopped and Maxwell Photography. Photograph: Hasbro/PA Wire

In the new version of the game, well-known landmarks including the Ha’penny Bridge stand alongside commercial enterprises such as the Nord Anglia International School, the restaurant chain Freshly Chopped and Maxwell Photography. Photograph: Hasbro/PA Wire

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Businesses which feature on the new Dublin edition of Monopoly paid for their places on the board, prompting the advertising watchdog to accuse the game makers of “lacking transparency”.

There is no indication on the game, aimed largely at children, that any of the companies, schools, service providers or retail outlets paid the makers, Winning Moves, for inclusion.

By contrast, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) imposes strict product placement rules across media platforms.

A spokeswoman for the ASAI said it was “the first time this type of activity has been brought to our attention and it does strike us as lacking in transparency”.

She said it was powerless to act because board games are not covered by its code, but said it would “consider amending [the code] to reflect such activity if companies paying to feature on board games becomes a regular occurrence”.

Commercial enterprises

In the new version of the game, well-known landmarks including the Ha’penny Bridge stand alongside commercial enterprises such as the Nord Anglia International School, the restaurant chain Freshly Chopped and Maxwell Photography.

When I am dead and buried, there will be people landing on my square, it will be my legacy

Nord Anglia International School confirmed it had paid for its square on the board. “We were approached by the makers at around the time we were preparing to open and thought it was a good opportunity. It was a commercial decision,” a spokeswoman said.

Mark Maxwell said his picture agency had done some corporate work for Winning Moves as part of a deal which saw it appearing on the board. “When I am dead and buried, there will be people landing on my square, it will be my legacy,” he laughed.

When contacted by The Irish Times, Winning Moves, which produced the game under licence from Monopoly owners Hasbro, declined to address concerns over the lack of transparency as to its commercial nature and merely said it represented “the past, present and future [of Dublin] for the current and next generation”.

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