The “Face” Behind the Letters

Game night has long been a valued tradition in families across the globe, but with new technology some of the long-standing board games have been pushed to the side for virtual games on systems such as Wii and Xbox Kinect. Scrabble, for example, has been a part of the game world for over 60 years, but how often do families still bring out their Scrabble boards?

Earlier this year, the advertising agency Pereira & O’Dell took over Mattel’s games account. This November, Pereira & O’Dell have released several 30-second spots in several different countries to bring back the association of Scrabble and fun. These advertisements bring personalities to three of the Scrabble squares: P, Q, and Blank. At first, the image of Scrabble pieces as faces on human bodies may seem a little strange. However, after viewing the advertisements a person may find themselves attached to the pieces.

Each of the Scrabble pieces has their own unique personality. When you “meet Blank” you might notice that he seems to be a bit arrogant and definitely the life of the party. After all, everyone always wants to draw the blank square during the game, right?

Q, on the other hand, is a bit of a loner. He has his heart broken by U and seems to be a bit timid. What is there not to love about the bashful, lonely Q? A viewer may almost feel guilty for hating the Q piece in the Scrabble game. It is heart-warming to see that, in the end, Q gets the girl.

Pereira & O’Dell definitely get points for being clever with these advertisements. The strange image of the pieces having personalities seems to work, however, the question is: will the viewers relate to the pieces? Mattel wants to bring people together over their Scrabble game board for decades to come but only time will tell if it will actually work.

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6 thoughts on “The “Face” Behind the Letters

  1. Interesting post on an interesting strategy. Cerainly, there is a lot to be said for creating characters to identify with in the game. Personfication and anthropomorphizing are powerful pulls. But, it seems to me that they are trying to become MORE like their competition rather than emphasizing the key differences and benefits. WIth video games we look at a screen, with board games we look at each other. That would be the focus I would stress in a more traditional campaign. But I’m not likely their target audience.

  2. It is great Scrabble is being more aggressive and doing commercials. I think viewers will relate to the pieces in the commercials because it brings out memories of the times you tried to play a two-letter word with a letter like Q. The commercials are a great way to spark interest back into scrabble but I’m not sure how long the interest will last. In my opinion the company will have to keep producing clever commercials, like your examples, to hold the interest and remind people of the fun of traditional family board games.

  3. I think that the advertising technique used by Scrabble is both innovative and creative. With the amount of things being sold to us on a daily basis, it is hard for companies or products to stand out. However, the idea of making scrabble “come to life” offers a new spin to the old and almost forgotten board game. I think their strategy of using a narrative with their product will be effective in reaching a wide variety of audiences ranging from young children new to the game, to older generations who grew up playing Scrabble.

  4. I think these advertisements are a unique way to get new consumers or consumers who haven’t played Scrabble before to go out and give the game a try. These advertisements have the entertainment and memory factors that play into getting consumers attentions today, especially young ones. On the other hand I don’t think these advertisements would be effective for older generations, or consumers who may have forgotten about or lost interest in Scrabble. Rather than entertainment, I think these consumers would be affected more by advertisements that play on the emotional appeal of family togetherness that they use to relate Scrabble to.

  5. I found this post to be very interesting and fun to read. I have always loved the classic games and have been wanted them to “come back in style”. Those commercials are so clever, I don’t see how anybody could say no to a game of scrabble after watching something so fun. Trying to add personality or character to a simple game piece is challenging but I definitely say that Pereira and O’Dell did an excellent job in doing so.

  6. I believe the advertisements may help a small amount with the older population, but I think the public have converted to the vitual games. A prime example is words with friends. Basically the game is more convenient. Everyone doesn’t have to be in the same spot, the game can be paused, and the game is with you at all times. These are the factors that are againt the ads of bringing the old Scrabble back to life.

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