The Marketing of Love and Partners

16 March 2020 | 7 Comments

Have you ever bought something because you thought your significant other might like it?

As I’ve talked about on this blog over the last year, I’ve been intentionally single for most of Stonemaier Games’ existence (2012-2020). That changed last year when I started dating Megan. Since then, I’ve found myself considering her when I buy anything that we might share together. It’s led to purchases I wouldn’t otherwise have made (e.g., 2-player only games) and in a few cases it’s led me to not buy certain things that I didn’t think we’d use.

So while this purchasing behavior has been on my mind for a while, it took me a while to think about it from a marketing perspective. Surely there are companies that do a great job creating and advertising products in such a way that we pay attention to them because of our partners, right?


The best example I can think of is from a company called MeUndies. I’ve mentioned them before on this blog–they use some really clever techniques (and their products are excellent).

At the top of the MeUndies website is a tab labeled “Match Me.” With a few clicks, it lets you order a matching pair of fun underwear for you and your partner. It not only serves as a reminder that it might be cute to wear the same pattern as your partner, but it also makes it very easy to accomplish that goal. I love it.

Stonemaier Games

The closest thing Stonemaier Games has for this is our gift guide, which helps you select games by thinking about the recipient’s personality and preferences. I think that’s a step in the right direction, though it would be better to have a matching system, as games aren’t just about your opponent–they’re about your experience as well.

So I wonder if we could offer a short personality quiz that suggests a game for you and your significant other based on each of your personalities and the types of games you already enjoy playing together. Do you have a recommend quiz software that could be used for this purpose?

Other Examples

For another industry, I could see book publishers offering special deals where you can buy 2 copies of the same book for you and your spouse to read at the same time, perhaps with discussion questions after certain chapters or thematic recipes to try together.

A similar version of this are purchases made because you think your kids might like it, or even that you might enjoy sharing it with your kids someday. Or maybe you’ve bought something because your parents might having fun experiencing it with you (see this related article from Going Analog).

Can you think of a time that you made a purchase because you thought someone in your life would enjoy it with you? How have you seen companies facilitate this process?


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7 Comments on “The Marketing of Love and Partners

  1. I wish I’d learned sooner to buy games based on what I know others like than my own tastes, otherwise I’d have played more of the many games sitting around my living room. I introduced my partner to games early on in our relationship, and she jumped in head first and is keen to play pretty much anything (although she finds sci-fi themes dull generally speaking, which is a shame cos we really need another player for a big game of Twilight Imperium!) I have found that I frequently buy games thinking of what she likes, although I usually see a game and go ‘hey what do you think?’ and then get it. I was super stoked that she herself suggested Tapestry (and Wingspan, but I’d already pre-ordered it WAY beforehand!) I was blown away a few weeks ago when she said she’d be keen to play D&D with me and my mates when we were talking about me DMing a casual campaign. (Yes, I consider myself really lucky!) Her top 3 favourite games in order are probably Everdell, Wingspan and Pandemic (Legacy over vanilla, and Season 1 over Season 2). When I’m thinking about what she likes, without consulting, I usually decide whether she’d like it considering things in this order 1) Mechanics (she loves good, sensible, thematic and free flowing mechanics), 2) Time to play (she doesn’t usually like games that take longer than a couple of hours, and even then 60 mins is probably a better play time) and 3) Theme / Genre. Jamey, if you could build some sort of ‘matching’ survey, that would be brilliant. I’d be happy to test it – in my opinion we’d both love Viticulture, have never played it and know no-one who owns it, so be interesting to see if it would return that result, and then I’d finally be able to justify getting it shipped out to Australia!

  2. I pretty much always buy my boardgames based on the tastes of others. Personally I play almost everything and enjoy it, but if I want to play it more than once it needs to be either a solo game or something that my nearest and dearest enjoy, by definition. There are tons of games I’ve ruled out simply because I know I’d never get to play it because my friends and family would hate it. The idea of buying a game when I don’t know anyone besides me who would like it is sort of alien to me.
    In addition to a personality test quiz, can I suggest a sort of ‘if they liked x then they’ll like this’? I know you have that to some degree with your gift guide, but personally I buy games that my friends and family will like not based on their personality, but based on the games they already like. When I’m shopping for a game my question is more along the lines of ‘They love Ticket to Ride, will they like this?’, your current guide seems quite based on the theme of the games rather than the mechanics or theme of playing them. I buy a lot of games to play with my wife’s family who are generally quite outdoors people, but I’d still buy them games based on the fact that they love Mysterium rather than the pictures or theme of the game.

    1. Glenn: That’s a good point about game-buying habits–unless you’re playing solo (or you just want something pretty on your shelf), it’s important to consider the people with whom you’ll be playing.

      I like the idea of using games as a frame of reference for the quiz.

  3. From a board game standpoint I would have to say Wingspan. My partner is my other half and competitor, so foremost I have to appease her in regards the games I choose. I think in that essence the designer and you have achieved universal appeal. A plethora of small actions would otherwise be much tougher to digest without the theme of our feathered friends. Regarding more intimate ideas are you considering selling Wingspan themed loungewear. :). I’m currently working on a puzzle/trivia game which is a fantasy and mythical environment where each character is tailored to the players strengths. You help each other to complete themed dungeons and the questions are used to take out creatures. If you get within a certain range of dates based on your handicap then you complete a head shot. This inclusive approach hopefully will aid a more enjoyable experience. Duel games are immediately intimate and as endearing as Chess.

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