April 25, 2007

News & Opinion: Wii-ly Cool

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 1:55 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity, Marketing & Sales

In a current Business 2.0 article, "How the Wii is Creaming the Competition," John Gaudiosi discusses how Nintendo remade itself with its latest gaming system: the Wii.
If you haven't heard of it, Wii is a relatively inexpensive, motion-controlled system that blends physical activity with the video game environment.
Unlike high-end products like the Sony Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox, Wii has a basic design that allows Nintendo to make a profit from the get-go. Nintendo knew it could make an instant $50 in profit on the system (whereas Playstation and Xbox actually take a hit before they make a profit on expensive games and accessories), so they offered its "killer app," Wii Sports, for free with the purchase of console and controller.
Gaudiosi explains how, in addition to the system itself, Nintendo revolutionized its marketing approaches:
Finally it came time for Nintendo to market the Wii to the world. In addition to its standard TV campaigns targeting schoolkids, the company pumped 70 percent of its U.S. TV budget into programs aimed at 25-to 49-year-olds, says George Harrison, senior vice president for marketing at Nintendo of America.
He even put Wii ads into gray-haired publications like AARP and Reader's Digest. For Nintendo's core users, he took a novel, Web-based approach: 'To reach the under-25 audience,' he says, 'we pushed our message through online and social-networking channels' including MySpace.'

It seems the Wii serves as an excellent example of taking a popular technology and incorporating social values and marketing trends.
I had the chance to bowl with "the Wii" over the weekend with some friends. It's a pretty cool experience--and my score was surprisingly close to its real-world average. (I hoped it would be better, though.) I'm not a gamer in any way, shape, or form, but I have to say that even a short experience with the Wii was enough for me to say that it was unlike any other game I've played. And somehow, that made it even better.
You can read the article here.