The battle lines are being drawn.

In the red corner is one of the world’s biggest and best known toy and game manufacturers unimpressed that one of the internet’s fastest growing sites has effectively pinched one of its flagship products without even a handsome royalty payment.

In the blue corner we have a few hundred thousand angry Facebookers, viewing a future without their beloved Scrabulous and not enjoying the bleakness and emptiness they can see ahead if the multi-national wins its fight.

The great Scrabulous war that Hasbro and Mattel appear hell bent on waging is the kind of blinkered buffoonery that our biggest corporations appear so adept at pulling off.

The toy giants may have a case worth pursuing, but do they really think it is worth the fight?

They may well win and they may well get Scrabulous removed from Facebook. But in doing so they will alienate the 600,000-plus Facebookers who log on to the Scrabulous application every day and several other million or so potential customers who take a dim view such corporate bullying.

It is a classic example of the multi-national machine spluttering into life and spoiling for a fight, when a more diplomatic and less public course of action would probably have found a more appealing solution.

But instead of Hasbro and Mattel becoming the saviours of Scrabulous, they become the pantomime villains who everyone now loves to hate.

What makes this slice of corporate nonsense all the more shameful is that it comes hot on the heels of Mattel’s own well-publicised and damaging recall of products last year. 

That went from farce to worse when it was revealed that Mattel could now be sued by the Chinese province it blamed for the faulty products. Mattel recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys and pointed the finger at the manufacturing process, but later had to admit that 85% of the recall was due to its own design faults.

There was and still is a far more productive solution – for all sides – to the Scrabulous conundrum.

Hasbro and Mattel seemingly possess neither the wit nor imagination, not to mention the inclination, to engineer that solution.

It has missed a big trick.

One global PR disaster might be unfortunate, but two smacks of idiocy.


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