Have you ever played the board game, Monopoly? Did you know it's over 65 years old? Even though it is an American toy, it is now sold in 80 countries and translated into 26 languages. Another toy that's been around a long time are LEGOs. This toy, developed in Denmark, is also a worldwide favorite. There are now LEGO theme parks, known as LEGOLANDS. After this lesson, you will see how the LEGO Company and Parker Brothers (who produce the Monopoly game) expanded their markets.
In this lesson you will demonstrate how new markets can be developed for old products, and explore how a product sold in different countries can be affected by cultural and social differences in each country.
Did you know that many of the same toys you play with in the United States are enjoyed by children around the world? In fact, many of our favorite toys are not even produced in the United States. The LEGOs toys are actually from Denmark and are sold all over the world. Read about how the LEGOs was invented .
The rise of LEGOLANDS:
For over 30 years, the LEGO Company made only toys and related goods. Then in 1968, the company opened its first LEGOLAND – in its home city of Billund, Denmark. Now there are four LEGOLANDs around the world.
At LEGOLANDs around the world, children can build things with thousands of LEGOs. They can also enjoy roller coasters, build robots, and even power their own rides. At LEGOLANDs and other amusement parks, no good is produced but a service, entertainment, is provided. To see what you can do at a LEGOLAND, click on some of the rides and attractions at
Answer the question:
Which of the rides would you like best? Have you ever visited a LEGOLAND theme park? Do you think your family would like to visit one?
Continue the discussion:
With the LEGOLAND theme parks, the LEGO Company is now more than just a toy company; it is an entertainment company. Can you think of another company that has theme parks as well as other goods? Both LEGOS and Disney operate theme parks in different countries around the world.
Parker Brothers has undergone a similar expansion with their popular board game, Monopoly. The company has been selling this game outside the United States for years. Many countries adopt their own currency and property names. To see what one of the favorite Monopoly locations, Boardwalk, is called in some different countries, see Monopoly's Fun Facts Page . Even in the United States, Monopoly has made changes. For many years, there was only an English edition of the game available here in the United States. What other language do you think now has a U.S. edition? Why do think this version is now sold here?
To be successful in different countries, businesses must be aware of cultural and social differences. What is acceptable or appropriate in one country may not be acceptable or appropriate in another country. Food, for example, varies a great deal from country to country, and these differences are important to some businesses. There are McDonald's restaurants in India, for example, but these McDonald's do not sell beef burgers because many Indian people are Hindus and the cow is a sacred animal according to Hindu religious teachings.
Find other examples:
Take a look at some actual menu items that come from the restaurants in LEGOLAND Deutschland (located in Germany) Do you see any dishes that would be considered unusual here in the United States? Now let's look at some actual menu items offered at restaurants in LEGOLAND California.
Contrast these menu items with items from the United States:
Do you see any foods there you don't recognize?
Explore the contrast:
- Why do you think the food choices differ between LEGOLAND Deutschland and LEGOLAND, California?
- Do you think LEGOs is smart to offer different food choices?
- Do you notice any menu items that are available at both parks?
- Why do you think that these items are offered at both parks.
Complete the questions in the activity below.
How did the LEGOs Company create a new market for its old toy, LEGOs?
How did Parker Brothers expand their market for the U.S. boardgame, Monopoly?
Why do you think companies, such as Disney or LEGO have decided to go into new markets?
- If a company decides to go into a market, why should it consider the social and cultural aspects of that market?
- Suppose a new LEGOLAND is built in Japan. Why would this represent a new market for the company?
- You have been asked to develop a restaurant for this new park in Japan. Create a menu, complete with the name of the restaurant and some dishes that you think would be popular with Japanese and Asian park visitors as well as with European and American visitors.
Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12