New Monopoly game shows world branded with McDonalds

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The old shoe is gone, a "Labradoodle" replaces the Scottish Terrier and McDonald's French Fries and a Starbucks coffee cup are among the new player pieces on a new U.S. Monopoly board.

Leading retail names such as McDonald's (MCD.N: Quote, Profile, Research), Starbucks and Motorola (MOT.N: Quote, Profile, Research ) have lent their brands to the new edition of the game that will be in U.S. stores from Thursday, though the game's makers insist it's not about advertising.

The new "Here and Now" U.S. edition of Monopoly has done away with Boardwalk in favor of Times Square and has been updated with new players' pieces such as a Toyota Prius car, a Motorola's RAZR mobile handset and a New Balance running shoe.

A Hasbro Games spokesman said it obtained the companies' permission to use their brands.
"There was no money involved in the deal. This is not a corporate sponsorship," Pat Riso, a spokesperson for Hasbro told Reuters on Wednesday. "We believe that these brands reflect America's pop culture today."

But the new game roused the ire of Commercial Alert, a nonprofit group that tries to prevent commercial culture from exploiting children.

"Shame on Hasbro for hawking junk food and caffeine to children," said Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert. "Hasbro is toying with the health of our children. Maybe it thinks the childhood obesity epidemic is just a game, but parents know better."

Hasbro updated the 22 addresses -- locations in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the seaside resort's early 20th century heyday -- based on votes conducted this year. Times Square in New York City and Boston's Fenway Park take the place of Boardwalk and Park Place, Monopoly's two most expensive sites.

Hasbro, which has sold about 250 million copies of the old board game, also dropped the no-longer fashionable Scottish Terrier in favor of the Labradoodle, a mix between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle.

"Chance" and "Community Chest" cards imposing penalties or rewards have also been updated, with entries such as: "You are runner up on a reality TV show. Collect $100,000."

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.


















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