- Mattel this week introduced 50th anniversary editions of its Uno card game, marking the occasion with a new logo and the tagline "Fifty Years of Being Wild." The toy maker also revealed plans for the first Uno Championship Series, a tournament that will award $50,000 to the best Uno player at a finale in November, per an announcement.
- Mattel said Uno will host games across digital platforms, including the Uno mobile app, throughout the year as well as streams with fans and partners. Walmart is the exclusive seller of the 50th Anniversary Premium Card Set. Mattel also introduced an "iconic series" with a deck for each of the past five decades, a "remix" version and an updated edition of Uno Attack.
- Mattel's refreshed versions of Uno come as a variety of brands update their looks with new logos and overhaul their messaging. While the 50th anniversary of Uno is a special occasion, it coincides with the surge in classic board game sales as people spend more time at home during the pandemic.
Uno was the top-selling brand in the games and puzzles category during the first nine months of last year, according to NPD Group research cited by Mattel. The company's latest marketing push suggests it plans to parlay this recent popularity into an expansive 50th anniversary campaign that also includes a digital push via celebratory games and livestreams as well as planned collaborations with well-known names across art, fashion and sports to create uniquely designed Uno products.
In a reflection of the broader consumer enthusiasm for board and card games, Mattel is also hoping to unite the global community of Uno fans via a tournament — which Mattel said is a first-of-its-kind event from the company — that could provide an ongoing opportunity to engage with consumers and learn more about them if the event proves to be a success. With the popularity of gaming tournaments, Mattel appears to be betting that consumers may also be interested in competitive play for one of their favorite card games. Many in-person gaming tournaments have been canceled or moved online during the pandemic but, so far, Mattel hasn't provided much detail about the format for its planned Uno tournament. However, the news that Uno will host games and livestreams in its app and across digital platforms indicates digital is an important part of the 50th anniversary marketing strategy and follows efforts last year to engage Uno fans on TikTok and Instagram.
Mattel last summer noted the strength in board and card games helped to offset a rocky period of lower sales for toys like dolls and action figures as parents favored games and outdoor activities to keep their kids entertained, CNBC reported. As more retailers opened up after lockdowns, Mattel experienced a rebound in sales among all product categories, lifting sales by 10% from the prior year to $1.63 billion in Q3, per a quarterly report.
Mattel is among the marketers that recently have updated their brands with the broad goal of remaining relevant, especially among younger consumers with growing spending power. In some cases, they wanted to emphasize new business goals, as seen in Kia's logo that emphasizes the car maker's longer-term goal of selling more electric vehicles and providing mobility services. General Motors has taken a similar tack with its refreshed logo whose vibrant blue hue is meant to evoke a vision of clearer skies with emission-free vehicles. Burger King this month introduced its first rebrand in more than 20 years with a "digital-first" stance and improvements to food quality and environmental sustainability.