Talking Toys with Aaaarghs a-plenty

From the birth of Monopoly and Scrabble’s multiple rejections to the future of games, our regional AdClub recently took a peek at the business of fun with the help of a gaming guru.

Last Wednesday, Vice President of Global Integration for Hasbro Games George Burtch led a discussion about how being a global company affects marketing strategy, the intricacies of dealing with international partners, and the fact that Milton Bradley invented the first one-arm paper cutter, among other factoids. Who knew?

This was the AdClub’s last presentation of the season before the summer break, held at Kaptain Jimmy’s in Agawam, Mass. Here’s a photo of the facade to give you a preview of the venue:

The ‘K’ in its name notwithstanding, this is a cool place with a pirate theme. It’s right down the road from Six Flags, explaining its family-friendly menu — as well as, I’d argue, the kick-ass bar and on-site distillery. Adding to the theme-y goodness: Our Diet Cokes came in silver mugs, and the podium for the day was an oak barrel.

george burtch
the distillery

The scallywags in the ladies room kind of flipped me out, though:

ladies room

… nothing says nervous bladder like a one-armed, one-eyed man in pirate garb.

In between swigs from our steins and bites of salad or pasta, George used examples from the past to help illustrate where the gaming industry might be going — we can play some of our favorite games on the fly via our phones or tablets, but still tuck into a board game on a snowy evening with family or friends just as easily.

Further, the video game industry alone, George said, had already launched and failed twice since 1984, when most people think of the ’80s as its formative years. Several well-known games had lesser known, very similar predecessors, like the Game of Life.

George’s biggest lesson to teach, however, was of the importance of a ‘think locally, act globally’ mindset in his business and others.

“If you want to do business elsewhere, go there,” he advised. “Know the place, know the people.”

Knowledge of the Seven Seas, comfort with parrots, and a willingness to scavenge for booty are also helpful.

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