Video marketing is difficult to do correctly. Markets change, new technology becomes available, it’s hard to keep up with everything sometimes. Even bigger companies have trouble with video marketing. But when done well, video marketing can lead to a surge in your business and make for an overwhelming increase in sales. In this article, you’re going to discover how Nintendo used video marketing for the Wii U versus how they used video marketing for the Switch. Where did they go wrong with the Wii U? How did they fix their strategy for the Switch, their latest console? And finally, what are the things we can learn from this?
Who is Nintendo?
You’ve probably heard of Nintendo, but as a bit of background they are a Japanese company founded in 1889. The company started out selling playing cards, but over the years (and as technology evolved) grew into the multinternational company we know today. Nintendo has had dozens of different home and portable gaming systems over the years. Some were huge successes, and some were huge flops. We are going to be focusing on the most recent two home systems: the Wii U (November 2012) and the Switch (March 2027).
The Wii U is a home video game system that you play from your television. It has a large tablet-style controller that you play with, but you can add other more traditional controllers for multiple (up to 4) people to play at once. The low sales for the Wii U (13.56 million, down from 163 million of the Wii) can be traced, in majority, to its poor video marketing.
The advertisements that ran on television and various websites centered around a group of children, around the age of 12. In one particular video, they have a presentation for their parents on why the Wii U is the best gaming system, and why they needed it. The video was filled with jokes and one-liners, some better than others. The parents inevitably caved and purchased the system, filling the issues presented by the children.
On the surface, this video seems like it should have been successful. However, this advertisement could be, in part, linked to the console’s failure. Why? If we look at the video with a closer eye, we can pick apart where it falls short.
First, who is the target demographic? According to earnest.com, the biggest demographic is people 18-24 years of age. These are not the people being targeted in the videos. The target for the videos are children (no stars available from the above source) and their parents, who I would classify as ages 35-40, which is only 8.6%, or half that of ages 18-24 (16.3%). Of course, this isn’t to say that these groups don’t play video games and wouldn’t be interested in a Wii U, but these were the only people being targeted.
Next, let’s look at how they show off the product. There was a lot of confusion, especially given the similarities in name, as to whether this was a separate console from the Wii or an extension of it. Nintendo did a poor job explaining that, despite the similar names, they are different products. This led to people being misinformed as to why the product they thought was an add-on was so expensive (it wasn’t for a complete console), and ended up not buying.
These factors lead to people not buying the console, which lead to game companies not making games for the Wii U, which created a vicious cycle.
The Nintendo Switch, which came out in March of 2017, is also a home video game system for your television. Unlike the Wii U, however, you can take the Switch on the go and play it wherever you want. There are multiple ways to set up, or switch the controllers around, to play with up to four people on one console or more over the internet. To date, in comparison to the Wii U’s sales, it has sold way more at this stage in the product’s life cycle at 8.7 Million. Let’s look at why.
The first look at the Switch was in October of 2016. The video, which was a longer version of a later-aired television spot, opened on a twenty-something man on his couch playing Legend of Zelda. After getting a look at the controller in his hand, we see him disassemble the controller, click parts onto the base console, and take it with him. The rest of the video shows other people playing various games in the multiple different configurations. The video has no dialogue, and no text except for at the very end, which simply shows the name. This is a successful video, but why?
The first thing that hopefully stuck out from you is the target demographic of this video. Unlike the Wii U, the target demo isn’t split between young children and older adults, but rather is somewhere in the middle. It targets the largest group of gamers, people 18-24 years of age.
More importantly in contrast, however, is how the product is presented. Besides getting rid of the lackluster one-liners, the videos showcased exactly what the product was. Sure, this was made easier by the fact that it had a completely different name that couldn’t be confused with another product, but it showed the wide range of ways to play without being overwhelming. There was no confusion about what the product is meant for. Additionally, they showed a wide variety of games that people could recognize and get excited about, rather than yet another version of Wii Sports.
Overall, Nintendo learned from their mistakes with the Wii U and it shows in sales. Nintendo’s use of video marketing is a great example on both sides, and can be a model for how to use video correctly to increase sales. If you are overwhelmed with trying to create video content to help increase your sales, you can contact us here.