From iconic board games that have graced family tables for generations to pop-culture-inspired toys that spark imagination, Hasbro has completed 100 years in business this year. For a global brand to be able to build a legacy like that and to be able to stay relevant to the testament of time and geography requires constant innovation. Keeping in touch with that ethos, Hasbro has launched a twist to its iconic Monopoly game called ‘Monopoly Cricket’ for the Indian market.
According to Lalit Parmar, Country Manager, Hasbro India, this is an endeavour by the brand to stay culturally and locally relevant.
Up until now, what Hasbro has done in India is launch global products. However, today’s market landscape demands manufacturers and brands to build upon locally relevant opportunities.
Parmar further says, “Being culturally relevant is where this offering of monopoly cricket resonates very well because it gets two fan favourite offerings together. One is the game of Monopoly, which is loved and played by over a billion players in 114 countries, and the other is cricket - the best, most favourite sport in India. And with so much action going around cricket in India right now, we thought this was the right opportunity to get these two fan favourites together.”
Hasbro already has a few locally relevant products including regional variants of Monopoly. Monopoly Cricket is an addition to that portfolio. Upon evaluating the response to associating one of India’s favourite games and Monopoly and other local and culturally relevant sports, the brand is open to coming up with more such offerings for the market.
Making & Marketing the Innovation in India
While most of Hasbro’s offerings in India are manufactured globally, the complete design development for this launch happened in India with support from global and sourcing teams. Designed by a Bangalore-based design firm named Mozaic Games, the cricket pitch-like Monopoly board spread aims to impress all age groups.
In India, the Monopoly Cricket version is one of the biggest launches that Hasbro is doing this year. Talking about how the brand aims to market this new offering, Parmar shares that the brand is deploying a 360-degree campaign. He adds, “The launch campaign starts creating a local, I would say, commercial or media asset, which is currently going live on TV, media, and digital channels. There are aspects of distribution and in-store merchandising. We are working with influencers where we have seeded the products, and they are reviewing the game and coming out with their wording on it. Additionally, we are trying to provide the best exploring experience on e-commerce sites with top-notch content.”
Navigating Competition in Unorganised Sector
While 80 per cent of the toys and kids offerings segment remains unorganised in India, it offers a kaleidoscope of options with a mix of affordability and variety. A huge chunk of the business is driven by MSME players and small manufacturers who produce toys and games and then market them at their level. There is a good contribution of branded players from an industry perspective, and it is increasing slowly and steadily. The branded space has been small historically, but it is now changing. According to Parmar, this is because of the kind of information that is now freely available. Players and shoppers in India are much more aware of what toys and games are being launched on a global scale, and they would like to try it out. He believes that as the information and awareness spread, the branded space will see growth.
Parmar adds, “A lot of these brands are multinationals and come with good quality control considerations and that also plays in the mind of the discerning consumers or shoppers right now. Parents who want to give out the best when it comes to the quality. We are seeing good momentum in branded players coming with excellent quality-conscious toys and offerings for the Indian market.”
Sharing the challenges and competitive advantage in this bustling landscape, Parmar believes that competition provides an opportunity for the end consumers and players to get the best. He adds, “Competition is very much required especially in the Indian market where the Per Capita Consumption of toys is one of the lowest in the world as compared to other developed markets or even developing markets because then everyone is trying to provide the best value proposition to the end consumers.”