First I would like to state that I love my Wii U, its a unique console and offers what others consoles don’t. However here in lies the problem with the Wii U, Nintendo has failed to properly market the features that sets itself apart from the rest of the group. In an effort to maybe help Nintendo, (or at the very least, shine a light on the problems Nintendo is facing) I have decided to write a three part article going over what those issues are and how I feel Nintendo should fix them.
Part 1- Fire your Marketing Team
Well you don’t exactly have to fire them, just have them market other Nintendo products that sell themselves like the 3DS . One of the major problems the Wii U has been facing and even Nintendo as a whole has been dealing with is branding issues, from people thinking the Wii U is an extension to the Wii all the way down to the craziness that ensued when the 2DS was announced in one of the poorest ways possible. Suffice it to say Nintendo has a marketing problem and needs to fix it asap before it’s beyond salvation.
This is honestly the biggest problem that faces the Wii U is the name itself; due to its strange naming convention it doesn’t actually make you aware that it’s a new console. A perfect example would be to look at how Sony has marketed the Playstation versions by using a similar strategy for different types of the same console: Take the name of the base model for example Playstation 3 and add an extra description such as the Playstation 3 Slim. For someone who knows nothing about the Playstation 3, they will assume that the Playstation 3 Slim is simply a different model of the Playstation 3 but still a Playstation 3. This same logic has worked its way over to the Wii and Wii U where consumers perceives the Wii U as simply a different version of the Wii where obviously this is not the case. This just speaks to the basics of introducing a newer version of a product you either :
A) Add a number to the end of the name and increase said number to represent newer versions
B) Add an additional word that imparts the idea of being “improved” for example : Super (see Super Nintendo)
It’s a very simple formula that Nintendo decided to abandon , not without reason mind you. Nintendo’s goal was to hopefully ride off the coattails of the Wii’s success by keeping the same base name so consumers would know that the Wii U was Nintendo’s next console. This is all well and good for gamers who follow this sort of information but for those who simply play video games (those that made the Wii the success it was), they had no idea as the name didn’t denote an improvement and resulted in the naming scheme failing on both accounts.
We already touched on the message a little when dealing with the Wii U’s name. However, there is more to a message then just the name , a lot more. Lets take a quick look at a Wii U advertisement:
Once again, we see that Nintendo is confused in what exactly they want to do with the console at release. We have a video showing all the group and party options that the Wii U offers to appeal to the crowd that the Wii gathered. Yet, in no part of the video does it try to separate the Wii and Wii U. This could have been done by showing a comparison in graphics to show that the WiiU is, in fact, a new console, but, as you can clearly see, this did not happen. It’s important to remember that the Wii U’s goal was to bring the focus back to the gamers but this video does not appeal to or show anything that a gamer would want in their purchase and while gamers are not the ones who make up the majority of console sales they are the ones who drive the direction of sales.
Another issue with the message lies in Nintendo’s failure to advertise the Wii U’s strengths. The Wii U has unique strengths to make up for its downfalls in comparison to PS4 or Xbox, but Nintendo needs to communicate those strengths. A perfect example would be off-TV play. Nintendo advertises the feature as great when someone else wants to watch the TV. I don’t know about you, but I have never run into this problem because I wasn’t born in the 1950’s and TV’s practically fall off of trees, they are so common. But there are more features that are never advertised. For example, you can take the Game Pad ANYWHERE in the house! This feature alone should warrant its very own commercial because not only would it be funny, but it would provide another honest reason to purchase a Wii U, which is good for everyone. Here are but some of the many examples the Game Pad off TV screen provide:
- Cooking in the Kitchen? Put Netflix on and keep watching or Youtube to follow a recipe
- Outside having a smoke? No more Angry Birds with that cig; you’re now hunting Rathalos in Monster Hunter
- Taking an extended sit on the toilet ? Words with friends pffffft; you’re now playing Mario in a tanooki suit stomping on goombas in Super Mario Bros U
- In the tub taking a bath? No more just listening to music; you’re captaining the Jack Doll and finding booty in Assassins Creed 4
- Socializing in the Living room with family you’re not fond of? No more fondling your phone hoping for someone to get back to you to save you from this misery; you get to hunt down the Joker and his thugs because you’re Batman!
You see where I’m going with this. It’s a simple commercial idea and hits the mark on several levels. Its funny due to the absurd situations you can set up; it describes a feature’s ability to the extreme by showing all of those situations you did not consider; and above all, it provides awareness to the other pertinent features that come with owning a Wii U. Then you could take all those absurd situations and have them all end the same way, which is whatever the person was doing coming back to the TV and hitting one button and resuming their game there. It’s straight forward ,simple, funny, has room for variety, and above all helps Nintendo spread the word while better informing its potential customers.
Not only does Nintendo suffer from not truly knowing who to target with their advertising, they also aren’t using other media outlets beyond the Internet. Currently Nintendo’s main advertising is what is termed “Nintendo Direct’s, ” which are videos that are published once a month explaining new features and what is coming next from Nintendo. The problem is that, for the most part, these videos are for those who have already purchased the products (WiiU & 3DS) as they are only placed on YouTube or easily accessible from the respective consoles. Information about upcoming games, especially exclusives, should be marketed to a far broader audience in other venues.
It really comes down to Nintendo making you look to find this information. People don’t want to look until they get interested and they won’t get interested until you show them what to get interested about. That wraps up part one of this article; follow the link for part 2!