The No. 1 card game in the world according to the NPD Group is celebrating 50 years of fun with a yearlong celebration filled with new products, events, and partnerships.
The basic history of UNO is a famous one — the oft-recounted tale of Merle Robbins, an Ohio barbershop owner and card game enthusiast, who created the game and sold the original version out of his barbershop. Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1971, the game caught the attention of Robert Tezak — owner of a funeral parlor in Joliet — who became hooked. The following year, Tezak made a deal with Robbins to take over UNO, and International Games was formed. Following decades of massive success, International Games was acquired by Mattel in 1992 and UNO has remained a smash hit ever since. Mattel says that 17 decks are sold every minute as UNO is now available in more than 80 countries around the world.
“For 50 years, UNO has brought people together by transcending language, culture, and age through gameplay,” says Ray Adler, global head of Mattel Games. “As the number one game in the world, we’ve maintained its origins of a beloved family pastime, while evolving into a cultural phenomenon. Combining the brand’s roots of inclusivity and simplicity, the passionate global fan base, and unprecedented momentum, UNO’s 50th anniversary is a yearlong celebration of the brand’s past, present, and future.”
New products featuring the new UNO 50th Anniversary brand identity will be released beginning this month. The refresh includes a revised logo and an all-new tagline: 50 Years of Being Wild.
The 2021 UNO lineup includes an UNO 50th Anniversary Premium Card Set — the official celebratory item, available exclusively at Walmart; UNO 50th Anniversary Card Deck with gold wild cards; UNO Iconic Series decks that pay tribute to individual decades; UNO Remix, which adds customizable cards to the mix; and an updated version of UNO Attack with new sounds, lights, and cards that fly higher than ever.
Mattel is also launching the UNO Championship Series — a competition that will culminate in the crowning of the first official UNO World Champion in November — and a series of UNO Celebratory Games throughout the year across digital platforms.
Finally, Mattel will continue developing diverse partnerships that build inclusive, sustainable, and culturally relevant products, such as UNO ColorADD, and the UNO Artiste Series. New collaborations with celebrities in the art, fashion, sports, and entertainment industries will be revealed throughout the year.
Back in November, Mattel revealed plans to develop UNO into an unscripted reality game show that will feature audience participation, physical challenges, trivia, and other creative elements to deliver what’s being described as “a super-sized UNO experience.”