Analysis: The Marketing Of Wii Sports Resort

After generations of trying to regain the magic it had as the number one console maker with the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo placed its remaining hope on a 5-in-1 sports game. Who would have thought that, without a Mario hat in sight, Wii Sports would not only save the company from irrelevance, but make Nintendo a market leader once again.

Now that Wii Sports has sold over 45 million copies, Nintendo has the unenviable task of trying to follow it up with Wii Sports Resort, a sequel that isn t packed in with every Nintendo Wii. Not only that, but the game requires use of (yet another) Wii accessory, the Wii Motion Plus (included with every game).

Potential brand confusion coupled with recent consumer apathy in video games make this a bit of an uphill climb, but Nintendo started earlier this year laying the groundwork at E3 2009.

Introducing Wii Motion Plus

Nintendo has never held itself to be a high-tech company. The cutting edge tech behind the Nintendo Wii is at least several years old, and the surprising acceptance and adoption of the Wii had competitors Microsoft and Sony introduce their own motion peripherals, some of which are leap-years ahead of Nintendo.

So Nintendo headed off that concern at this year s E3 with the introduction of Wii Motion Plus and the new Wii Sports Resort. Here is the promotional video they showed to press in attendance.

What you see there is Nintendo trying to flip the tables and remove the notion that it was not interested in being on the cutting edge. The slick production and association with several of the games featured in Wii Sports Resort laid the foundation for consumer acceptance. It showed the new peripheral, it showed how people used it, and it showed how games were more sensitive with it. Most importantly? It looked like a lot of fun!

This led to long queues in front of the Wii Sports Resort portion of Nintendo’s booth, with thousands of players getting a chance to play the new basketball, archery and table tennis mini-games. Nintendo’s instructors calmly led journalists and other attendees in how to use the Wii Motion Plus effectively, including how to calibrate it and use it with other peripherals (like the nunchaku). Of course, it helped that the game was a lot of fun in action, and Nintendo allowed attendees to spend ample time at their booth getting acclimated to the action.So the initial formula was simple: cool, high-tech introduction video, lots of play time with a fun game, and thousands of excited bloggers writing about the awesome new Wii Sports Resort.

Beachlife In Times Square

Now that Nintendo had the gaming blogosphere atwitter with news about Wii Sports Resort, it was time for a big mainstream push, and Nintendo executed their next move beautifully. They took over the center of the universe, Times Square, and turned Military Island into its own personal beach. Wii Sports Resort branding and kiosks were everywhere, and fans and tourists came around to see what the fuss was all about. Again, here was Nintendo, engaging its consumers face-to-face by allowing them time in front of the fun, new Wii Sports Resort. Throw in a little celebrity action (Chace Crawford), invite a bunch of press and voila, you’re today’s top story.

Long Summer Days

Wii Sports Resort’s timing is as important as its initial launch period, and Nintendo is benefiting from a dearth of notable games in the first half of the year. With summer upon us, you now have lots of bored kids out of school, itching for something to do.

This makes Nintendo’s follow up television commercial perfect, both for the season and the demographic. It shows the familiar Mii characters in Wii Sports Resort events, along with people having fun (Wii Motion Plus in hand). The summer theme is in full effect here and, coupled with a familiar brand in Wii Sports, makes this a perfect introduction for those players who have a few bones to spend.

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And for that demo that just doesn’t watch television anymore, Nintendo has an Internet campaign that strikes the same chord.

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Already A Hit

A game like Wii Sports Resort benefits from having a long tail, much like Wii Play, a game that has racked up 23 million units sold (largely thanks to a Wii remote being packed-in).

So far, the early education of Wii Motion Plus and how it relates to Wii Sports Resort is paying off. Before Wii Sports Resort release on July 26, Nintendo had already moved almost 400,000 units of the Wii Motion Plus peripheral (169,000 alone, 205,000 with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10).

As for the game itself, NPD data for July should show a very strong introduction for Wii Sports Resort, but Japanese sales already place Wii Sports Resort as the third-fastest selling Wii game ever (only Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl raked in more unit sales in its first four days). Analysts expect Wii Sports Resort to top sales of 18 million by the end of the year.

Wii Sports Resort and Nintendo’s marketing machine show the importance of a good introduction along with tailoring your message to the season, demographic and mainstream consumer that has led to its dominance in the current generation. Now who’s up for a quick game of table tennis?

Twitter Who?

From The Los Angeles Times:

Of the 2,025 U.S. adults surveyed, 69% said they didn’t know enough about Twitter to comment on the service.

Compare that to just 17% of advertisers who admitted to not knowing much about the website — a group whose colleagues would, if they found out about said confession, probably take them out back “Old Yeller” style.

We get it, you and everyone you know are on Twitter, but this circle of friends is pretty tight, and it takes stories like this to remind you that yes, there are people outside the Twittersphere.  Way outside.

If anything, these numbers should serve to tone down the unabashed love Twitter receives from marketing and business folks who have yet to uncover its true (if there is any) potential.

But if you re a Twitter believer and think the micro-blogging platform is the wave of the future, just remember, the majority of your consumers don t even know what it is, even if Oprah is on it.

Just make sure, when you talk Twitter with consumers, you tell them exactly what that means to them.

Depeche Mode In Left 4 Dead 2

From Kotaku:

Surely, I thought, when first seeing the band’s likeness and logo emblazoned on her tee, that wouldn’t last very long. But that Depeche Mode cameo is intentional and it’s authorized.

…The band was very free with letting Valve use its likeness, its audio recordings, and, obviously, its t-shirts in the game.

Music and gaming have had a very valuable relationship that has grown in recent years thanks to Rock Band and Guitar Hero, so it s not surprising a big name band like Depeche Mode feels being in a zombie game is advantageous.

They recently released their twelfth studio album, Sounds of the Universe, so common sense dictates it would be a very smart marketing move for the band to try and gain new audience through any media possible.

Mommy, How Are Blu-Ray Discs Made?

If you’re marketing something, anything, it s still important to know from where that product originates. recently took a tour of a major Blu-Ray creation plant owned and run by Sony, and has a very interesting gallery on how these high-definition movie and game discs are made.

Put on your nerd hats, it s time for the factory tour.

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In Branding, Consistency Matters

Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been competitors since the late 1800s, with Coca-Cola dominating the soft drink market for over a century now.  This image shows at least one reason why: consistency through the years.

Just because something is hip today, doesn’t mean you have to change your entire strategy to center on that (Facebook apps and Twitter, anyone?).


In Branding, Consistency Matters


AFK: The Greatest Mom Ever

Our AFK moment of the day comes to us from New York, where no television could ever be too big.

As a surprise for her movie-making, game-playing teenage son, Patti Deni decided to surprise him with a 100-inch plasma mounted on his bedroom ceiling.

Special work had to be done as the 300 pound weight was excessive, even for the pros.  Nonetheless, it got done, and the Deni boy is now widely regarded as the luckiest son on the block.

Because it’s so big and has such a wide viewing angle, Patty’s son wouldn’t have to lay flat on his back necessary to see the screen, Bohner explains.

He and his friends can prop themselves just about anywhere and get a good view, adds Patty.

[More at Electornic House] {link no longer active} Now Syndicating To YouTube, NBC

From Ad Age: {link no longer active}

The company, purveyor of little web shows such as “Nostalgia Critic,” “Epic Fu,” “Average Betty” and 48,000 others (seriously), is inventing its version of a TV network for a fractured media world where viewers gravitate to shows that appeal directly to who they are; the opposite of what may be TV’s last true megahit, “American Idol.”

Whereas companies like Revision3 try to create slick, heavily-produced shows that number in the single digits, is carving out a niche as a syndicator of user-created shows.

Their recent deal with YouTube, Roku and NBC shows a different way of looking at user-created content.  Instead of companies staying put with their own portals, is all about increasing the distribution of these shows as much as possible.

Costs are kept low as users are the ones footing the production bill, and revenue from syndication and other opportunities are split down the line, 50/50.

Is this a model we can see being applied to video games   We see a slam dunk when it comes to a model like Xbox Live Indie Games, a story we reported on a few days ago.

Instead of companies tackling the actual content creation, the next big thing is always being developed in some garage or basement.  If companies like can focus on syndication, it could be a mutually beneficial relationship that can be applied to multiple mediums, including video games.

Slap Chop Spoofs Bigger Ads

While doing the daily rounds, we came across this YouTube video promoting the new Colgate Wisp, a mini brush and toothpick.

It should be pretty tough to market something as mundane as a portable toothbrush, but Colgate tapped Black20 Studios to create a spoof based on those popular Slap Chop informercials.

This is a smart way to tap into an Internet meme and get some viral promotion, but also to quickly create an advertisement since most of the creative brainstorming is done except for identifying what should be spoofed.

Take a look at the ad here, and place your bets on what s up next: Keyboard Cat or Santa Cruz lady {links no longer active}.

Yahoo! Rebrands Itself… Again

Take a look at this new rebranding video for the new Yahoo! and see if it strikes you as inherently Yahoo!

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This is a long way from the weird yodeling and garish designs synonymous with dot-com bubble-era Yahoo! It seems the search engine and e-mail giant is trying (again) to connect with audiences by ditching their old mainstays and getting serious. Over the past decade, Yahoo! has seen serious chunks of its business and cachet go to Google, so this change in tone isn’t surprising.

However, does it go far enough?

A bit cringe-worthy are the project managers talking about editorial programming, and the silly hats and nerf guns are poor inclusions.Let’s see if and how they follow through on this rebrand from quirky Internet company (cliche) to serious company willing to put in the extra effort to create destinations worthy of your time.

Comic-Con Postmortem: Games Presence

From Kotaku:

Half a dozen comics and two new cartoons based on video games were announced at the show and plenty of comic books were unveiled as video games. The convention itself was host to more than 40 panels about video games.

Comic books and Hollywood have had a great relationship that has blossomed in recent years thanks to movies like Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and Superman.

Read up on the Kotaku analysis of how impactful video game are becoming in the comic book realm, and how the three markets converge in extremely profitable ways for all involved.