Thinking outside the banana - why we launched Bananagrams beer

Celebrating the end of their first decade with a co-branded beer might not seem an obvious licensing partnership for a family word game, but company CEO Rena Nathanson spells out its potential for the games and toys sector to reach new spaces.
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Earlier this year, we were presented with an opportunity to partner with our Rhode Island neighbours, Narragansett Beer, for their Hi Neighbor Mash-Up series, which sees them partner with businesses born in the area to create co-branded ‘Hi Neighbour Have A Hefeweizen’ beers.

What at first might seem an unlikely affiliation with Bananagrams is in fact a perfect combination, reflective of how the tabletop gaming space is continuing to evolve. Beer and games are there for the good times, and if you’re coming last on that word grid or board game, a tasty beer certainly takes the sting out of it!

The rise of grown-up games nights in pubs and bars, and dedicated board game cafes that stay open into the small hours goes some way to show that games have moved beyond that typical ‘family table’ setting.

Indeed, the very notion of ‘family’ is such an evolving thing, taking on so many guises in the modern world. While children remain at the heart of what we do, we recognise that ‘family’ for many is their extended friendship networks which may include no children at all, and that what we once saw as traditional ‘family time’ now often takes the form of get-togethers with friends at home or in restaurants and pubs.

This social shift inspired our Tenth Bananaversary Bananagrams Party edition – a highly sociable ‘party’ version with a slightly older audience skew – and was also part of our reasoning for partnering with a beer brand in what is our first real foray into licensing.

Games brands branching out into licensed product and merchandise is nothing new, and yes loyal fans will be quick to pounce on product that pays homage to their favourite game.

However, we’re far from fans of logo-slapping: from fashion to food, through to the luxury sector, our strategy moving forward is in seeking out yet more cool, clever ways of delivering meaningful, relevant partnerships for existing fans – plus using these collaborations to tap into new audiences and double our marketing efforts.


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