The Problem

In December 2004, we presented the case of Boston-based board-game maker Intellinitiative, which was up against the ropes. The company's largest retailer, Target, had recently booted its popular trivia game, The 90's Game, off the shelves to make room for Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit 1990's Edition. Sales from Target had accounted for some 40% of Intellinitiative's revenue, and CEO Clay Siegert was scrambling to find new places to sell his products.

What the Experts Said

"If Target decided to go with Trivial Pursuit, why not go straight to its competitors?" asked brand strategist Laura Ries. "Trends die," added Tamara Leigh Murphy, president of Winerd Entertainment. "They need to find the next thing that will resonate with customers."

What's Happened Since

Though Target continued to stock Intellinitiative's The 80's Game, 2004 revenue dropped by half, to $1 million. Siegert spent 2005 scrambling to sign new retailers, including Walmart.com and several chains that don't traditionally stock games, such as Linens & Things and Sam Goody. Revenue in 2005 ticked up slightly, to just north of $1 million, Siegert says.

What's Next

Earlier this year, Siegert learned that VH1 was considering a board game based on its popular series I Love the 80s. Rather than waiting for a repeat of his 90's Game fiasco, he proposed a partnership with the network, and in October, the VH1 I Love the 80s game hit the shelves. Ironically, the game will receive prime positioning at Target. "I bet the VH1 game will outsell our original," says Siegert, who expects revenue to rebound to $2 million in 2006.