First there was Bananagrams: a banana-shaped satchel full of lettered tiles for an on-the-go word-building activity. The perfect travel game for word nerds who prefer to spend their vacations in the shade debating the ruling on the legitimacy of Latin idioms, or some arcane Elizabethan slang.
My friends got me into the game, but I have never been able to really get behind the name. I find the correlation between bananas and anagrams tenuous at best, and as such, unsatisfactory. Ok, they share some letters, but what do bananas and anagrams really have to do with each other? Why not bandanagrams, packaged in a red paisley bindle? Or flanagrams, complemented by a Spanish custard dessert? It feels like a stretch.
Anyway, Bananagrams’ utter goofiness notwithstanding, it’s a pretty good game. But imagine my surprise today when I notice a new product on the portable word game market: Scrabble Apple. Apparently unwilling to let some no-name British wannabes horn in on the legacy they created, the honchos at Scrabble came up with their own fruity retort. Scrabble Apple. Real original, guys.
Well, once again, I’m not sold on the correlation. You need some serious license to rhyme Scrabble with apple, and I can’t see any other logical argument for putting the two together. You know, except that Hasbro will be damned if a saggy banana sack is going to cut into their market share.
Note, though, that Scrab-Apple just came out, while Bananagrams have been in the US since at least 2007, which means it took their team a full two years to launch this juicy rejoinder. I reckon that time was spent on intense sales research that revealed it really is the palatable product design that makes Bananagrams so appealing.
Of course, we know that consumers are, for the most part, suggestible morons, and that brand managers are formulaic conformist sluts. What troubles me is that I’m detecting a hostile subtextual message:
People who play word games are fruits.
If we’re such a bunch of nerdy gaylords, don’t think we’re not going to notice the not-so-subtle commentary. What’s next? Boggle Avocado… Balderdates… How about some Taboo-leh? That’s a pretty fruity victual. Dish it out, world. We’ll take it, rearrange it, and triple word score your ass.