Mattel pull a perfect Product Placement out of the bag


Scrabble took the world by storm in 1938 when invented by Alfred Mosher Butts (84 points on a triple word score) – but times have changed and sales were declining.

Brand awareness was still huge at 98% but few were considering purchase, with a perception that Scrabble was played predominantly by an older audience. The challenge laid down to us by Mattel was to demonstrate that Scrabble is a fun and exciting game that can be enjoyed by the entire family. 


Scrabble needed to get its mojo back by aiming younger, refreshing the brand and reminding people just how much fun it was to play.

Rather than tell people that Scrabble was fun, we needed to show the game in action, and bring the entertainment to life so people (especially families) could experience it for themselves. We wanted to associate the game with a fun show which appeals to a broad audience, giving it relevance across all generations and putting Scrabble at front of mind in the run up to Christmas.


We would take this iconic game and deliver Mattel a product placement within an ITV show that delivers enormous amounts of shared family viewing: I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! (IACGMOOH).

The game would be integrated into the hugely popular show as its first ever product placement partner – bringing Scrabble into the heart of the programme with a head to head challenge. Celebrities would attempt Scrabble for the very first time – with hilarious consequences. 

November / December scheduling meant we would influence the valuable pre-Xmas gift market with a show that entertains all ages.


The head to head challenge saw two teams playing ‘Bush Scrabble’ by diving into a stinky swamp to retrieve tiles, and competing to make the highest scoring words. Contestants were terrible, but the levels of fun were high!

We also delivered ITV’s unique Second-screen Takeovers in the form of synchronised adbreak insertions on the accompanying IACGMOOH mobile app. This included a short ad, followed by an in-app Scrabble game.

Branding continued with our attention-grabbing Premium Pushdowns on the IACGMOOH dedicated site. Finally, we challenged Facebook users to solve Scrabble-style anagrams – the Jungle Word Conundrum - supported by further social tweets and posts directly from the show.


The Scrabble Challenge was in the 19th November show of I’m a Celebrity, which delivered an average audience of 9 million adult viewers.

  • Repucom estimates delivery of 7 times onscreen media value as originally invested.
  • Around 1 in 5 (23%) viewers spontaneously mentioned the challenge and this rose to 7 in 10 (72%) when prompted.
  • The Scrabble Challenge scored well for fit (69%) and enjoyment (82%), with 65% thinking the challenge itself looked fun and exciting. 
  • It reminded 4 in 10 (41%) how much fun Scrabble was to play.
  • Around 1 in 10 (9%) thought about buying Scrabble and 10% of viewers also had their opinion of Scrabble improved.
  • Women and 16-34s became most likely new customers, with 22% ‘wanting to play’.

The positioning of Scrabble in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the fun side of Scrabble and its appeal to a broad family audience. Featuring on the show, as well as all social media activity to support it, definitely resulted in an increased awareness and sales for the brand.

Wendy Hill , Director of Brand Activation