Monthly Archives: February 2012

The History of Monopoly





The History of the Monopoly Game

is fascinating….

It can be traced back to 1904 when an American woman, named Elizabeth  J. Magie Phillips, created a game through which she hoped to be able to explain the single tax theory of Henry George [Henry George was an American political economist in the late 1800s].  The game was intended to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies.  Her game, was called ‘The Landlord’s Game’ and was commercially published in 1924; just in the US.

This is interesting….

In 1941, the British Secret Service had John Waddington Ltd, who was then the licensed manufacturer of the game outside the U.S., create a special edition for World War 2, ‘prisoners of war’ that were held by the Nazis.  Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other objects useful for escaping! They were distributed to prisoners by secret service-created, fake charity groups.  I am astonished on how they got away with that…. and, I’m afraid I have no figures for you on how many people made their escape using the hidden tools!

After the war, a lengthy court process ensued relating to the trademark and ownership of the term ‘Monopoly’ and  it wasn’t until the late 1970s that it was resolved, making way for the game to then be created as the game we know today.

Monopoly is one of those huge board-game success stories that is too big a success story for anyone to ever try to compete with.  Demand for the game has never waned and is still growing in demand today globally, after many decades of sales.

Naturally, the game has seen many modifications over time. The biggest change for Monopoly though, is how it has been re-worked commercially, with limited and special editions created for cities; regions; countries; landmarks and brands all over the world.  The US is flooded with state, landmark and corporate editions.  Monopoly is a lucrative game and has come a long way from it’s humble beginnings.

Virgin's branded money version

You can NOW have your own branded Monopoly game – available here in the UK.  You can pretty much design your own, down to the board design, the outer box, customizing your money and the chance and community chest cards.   Many big names have already taken up this opportunity, such as Virgin, Wrigley, Vodaphone, and even Harrow School.  Minimum quantities for a bespoke version is from 1,000 pieces.  These are perfect for corporate gifts, events, staff rewards, marketing campaigns and even for re-sale.



For further information, get in touch today on 0161 222 8981 or on

Cool Promotional Messenger

The UK promotional goods industry is fit to bursting with a plethora of different promotional products.  The industry itself is huge and highly competitive.  Last year alone, some £722 million* was spent on promotional products in just the UK. That’s big business.

We have our favourite promotional goods here – the ones that we think work harder, have impact, are valued and kept.  It is rare that we see something NEW that really does turn our head.  But this ‘cool’ little operator, most definitely has!

Introducing the LED 6 message Ad-fan!

Superb fan promotion from Swatch

This fan has big impact.  It is budget friendly and it delivers your message over in a clever and memorable way, with scope to get a larger than average message across to your target market…. all whilst keeping your customers cool as the message is delivered.

These fans can rotate up to 6 different messages in an LED, rotating light colour of your choice.  And, with each message having up to 18 characters…. you would have a total of 108 characters to play with!

These fans are also a low minimum quantity of just 500 pieces and you can even have the handle pantone matched on higher quantities.  Handles can also be branded with your company logo from 500 units plus.

Copy and paste this link for a full demonstration:

Ideal for Sports events, festivals and marketing campaigns


For further details about keeping your clients cool whilst delivering your important marketing message, contact us today on 0161 222 8981 or email us as

*Source: BPMA

Goody Bags to Rescue Sales on The High Street!

The austere conditions on the high street at the moment following the sad demise of some long established major players must be making our other UK’s retailers very nervous about their future. 

Are we becoming immune to the temptation of the cliched Sale?


Consumers are holding back, spending less and need a very good reason to go into a store or onto a website to part with their money.  They are also becoming wise to the often mis-leading and clichéd mid-season sales and half price promotions that many players within the furniture business are especially guilty of.  Consumers want more transparency; good old fashioned service; a genuine incentive to buy and a good deal when they do.

I am surprised about how few retail marketing teams and CRM managers use goody bags as a marketing solution.  Perhaps it is the term ‘goody bags’ that seems a tad frivolous and therefore are not regarded as potential contenders in the polished and results driven marketing world.  Maybe it’s because they think that the competition are not doing goody bags so why should they. Or it could be quite simply, that the option never comes to mind.

Whatever the case, ask a consumer what a goody bag is; and they all know. 

Everyone Loves a Goody Bag

I will never forget being outside a large Disney Store at the Trafford Centre in Manchester and there was a long queue out the door.  Apparently, word had got round very quickly that they were giving out free goody bags, so the queue was growing fast.  I saw people coming out of the store with their little plastic bags and I asked someone if I could take a look at what they had.  The goody bags contained 2 or 3 tiny Disney character pen toppers. That’s all. …nothing spectacular.  However, people of all ages were taking their time to queue to get them.  I spoke to a few people in the queue and the majority didn’t even know what they were getting but it was free so they wanted one. 

The store was a magnet and people were going into that shop that would not in normal circumstances.  To them, they were getting an unmissable [free] deal and the generous and welcoming service messages that the store was conveying was making more people join that queue.

How to make a Goody Bag Pay in Retail

Well executed and highly targeted goody bags can be very effective by engaging directly with customers, influencing their behaviour and increasing footfall and transactional spend.

Goody Bags can be an excellent return on investment


A goody bag need not be expensive and a budget can easily be produced by looking at your margins.   There are many ways in which you can monitor your return on investment too, unlike many other soft marketing campaigns that often get awarded big budgets but offer poor forms of measure.

Every retailer and e-tailer will have very differing needs with each requiring a bespoke approach to meet their own objectives.  Here are just a few tips for any retail and e-commerce goody bag campaign:

  •  Goody bags can be a marketing solution for all types of promotions:  for a simple data gathering exercise; rewarding customer loyalty; recommending a friend; signing up for a credit account; to influence an increase in a transactional spend; driving customers to visit a store; social media campaigns; preview events and much more.
  •          Additional giveaways within the bags should be something practical that they will use and are able to keep.  Instant disposable items such as confectionery and food items branded up are a waste as they get eaten and your brand is quickly in the bin, unless of course, the objective of the goody bags is to encourage trial of a food or drink product. Research your target market and give them what they will want, value and hold onto. 
  •        Social media is an ideal FREE platform in which to build awareness of your goody bag offering so ensure that you feature your goody bag promotion on your Facebook page and tweet about it regularly on Twitter……especially effective for campaigns aimed at the teens and twenties.  Clever viral campaigns to promote the offering on You Tube can take the exposure to exceptional levels.
  •     Include money saving vouchers or further promotions within the goody bags that have staggered dates.  This way you will get repeat business or you can support a seasonal campaign such as pre-Christmas trading.  This is also a valuable tool for calculating your ROI.
  •        You can charge for goody bags too.  Consumers within certain industry sectors would be more accepting of this, such as fashion, beauty and sport.  A discounted, highly desirable goody bag would still generate the results you need.  For instance, if Top Shop were offering girls branded goody bags with Top Shop branded lips glosses, files and bath bombs for £4 on purchases over £50, you would increase the average transactional spend and make a high margin on the goody bag too.  You would also boost footfall and, if you were to link this into a social media campaign, your results would soar.  If your staff are going to be handing them out away from the store, ensure that they have a firm brief about the profile of the people to whom they should be given.  Where possible, encourage an exchange of name and email address in return for the goody bag to data capture names for the future.
  •  Brand the bag and the items within the bag with as many contact details and messages that you can fit on.  Social media addresses and use of QR codes are becoming increasingly important.


If you are interested in using goody bags for your next promotion, get in touch TODAY on 0161 222 8981 or email The Bespoke Goody Bag Company on

Round of Applause for Top Marketing Product!

It fascinates me how our major sporting clubs today manage to exploit every conceivable marketing opportunity known to marketing-man.   It seems that no wall space, seat, drinks cup or door is now sacred. They see a marketable space or opportunity and whack a price on it!

well executed designFew have the colossal funds required to secure shirt sponsorship.  Maybe your funds are closer to sponsoring the half-time pies? I personally would forget the pies though….  get yourself some of these and then you can really compete against the major sporting advertisers!
These Marketing Managers’ dream handouts are the modern day replacement for the footie rattle but with a superb branding opportunity added that really is hard to beat.  Quite simply, they’re a hand-held, clapping banner and noisemaker in one.

How could something so simple be so good?


folded and ready 2 clapThe clapping sound that they make is loud and effective and they build crowd participation and excitement.  They are also visually appealing to all ages and genders and have a huge double sided area in which to print your message, brand or promotion.

And that’s not all:

  • They are made in England and take just 5 – 7 days to turnaround….. so ideal for last-minute events
  • The minimum order is just 500 units and the cost is amazingly budget friendly
  • They are made from recycled material and are biodegradable
  • They can be printed in up to four colour process on both sides of a huge print area
  • They have the flexibility to build in vouchers and tear-offs
  • They are supplied folded and ready to use
  • They are the perfect product to build crowd participation and excitement both visually and audibly
  • They are ideal for clapping along to chants and songs at sports events and concerts
  • They have a high perceived value and fans keep them as momentos


great design - rugby world cup tickets


This clever patented design is made from a high quality card and is supplied printed and concertina folded, ready to be handed out.  They’re dual use as well – to create a clapping sound and to use opened to hold up for visual display at games and music festivals.  Be clever with your design and your marketing message could be seen by millions!  Just perfect for all sporting events, music festivals or even for the 2012 Jubilee.

Pop them in a goody bag along with branded whistles, face paints, hats and streamers and you’re on to a winner!

I love this product and it really is a no-brainer.  Get yours ordered today by contacting us on 0161 222 8981 or email us NOW on


Say it with Roses

With Valentine’s day imminent and romance in the air, I thought I would share an original and clever new concept that has recently come onto the UK market.

I am intrigued with this product as it is ‘branded roses’ – and that’s real, fresh, genuine roses too…. not the silk variety!

How good is that?

Coca Cola branded roses - red roses naturally


These beautiful, handpicked roses are available in many colours and can feature your logo or message on a petal. The distinctive and patented printing process is expertly applied by hand and is even able to pick up on very detailed designs. You can choose from single stem branded roses supplied individually in stunning boxes or full bouquets with all, or just a few roses printed. These roses can also be carefully packaged and sent out by mail. With no loss of freshness or visual impact at the receiving end; this makes them ideal for PR or new business campaigns.

We have just used these roses in goodie bags for a musical showcase hosted for music executives at the Ivy Club in London.  The classical musician’s name was printed in gold onto red roses and they were placed alongside branded champagne from The Bottle Boutique

The guests were very impressed indeed and, understandably; there was much fascination with the roses.

Goody Bags for The Ivy Club, London

The emotional ‘pull’ and pleasure that roses can evoke, also make these branded roses simply perfect for a customer loyalty programme; as handouts at fashion and beauty events; retail and restaurant openings and for the tables at gala dinners and awards ceremonies.

For further information about how to say it with roses, contact us now by email or on 0161 222 8981