Marketing the Nintendo

1 January 2017

Relating relevant marketing theories to different aspects of Nintendo’s marketing scheme. Discussing how Nintendo are attempting to influence, modify or impact the consumer’s behaviour in particular. 3. Organisation and Product Overview Nintendo Co Ltd was founded 1889 in Kyoto, Japan; by Fusajiro Yamauchi. This company would eventually go on to develop and release this generations most successful gaming console; the ‘Nintendo Wii’. Originally the company produced and marketed a playing card game called Hanafuda.

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Becoming quite successful in this area the company eventually enlisted on the Osaka stock exchange in 1962 and continued to push further into the Japanese toy market (developing an assortment of toys over the time period). In the 1970’s Nintendo started introducing electronic technology to the Japanese toy industry; culminating in 1976 with the release of the first home television game (‘Colour TV Game 6’). The Nintendo as we know it today had been born. Nintendo have released many electronic hardware and software over the years; uilding up a strong relationship with the consumer along the way. With its release of countless gaming consoles and characters that have obtained icon status throughout the world, Nintendo is now a recognised name throughout the world. By observing the company history we can see how through constant successful releases Nintendo has nurtured a strong brand loyalty from its consumers. Introduced in 1985, ‘Nintendo Entertainment System’ was an instant hit; almost single-handedly revitalising the video game industry.

Selling over 60 million units, this product introduced consumers to the names Mario and Zelda for the first times. Following the success of the NES, Nintendo released the iconic Game Boy in 1889 (a hand held gaming system). Although the screen was only 4 shades of grey, the device defined portable gaming and was extremely enjoyable. “Game Boy is the most successful video game ever… selling over 150 million copies worldwide” (History-Nintendo, retrieved on 20/5/11 from http://www. nintendo. com. au/index. php? pageID=13).

The Game Boy would see itself continually innovated over the years. However Nintendo didn’t ignore its home gaming consoles during this time, endeavouring to release more powerful gaming consoles, starting with the 16 bit ‘Super Nintendo’ (released 1991) and its successor the ‘Nintendo 64’ (released 1997). With the N64 setting new standards in realistic gaming. With the N64’s success leading the way for the Nintendo’s ‘Game Cube’, this was the first Nintendo product to utilise disk technology instead of cartridges.

The ‘Game Cube’ was the final step that led to the development of the Wii. With each predecessor (both home and portable consoles) adding tiny bits of consumer information, consumer loyalty/base, technological advancements and company experiences to its development. The Wii was conceived in 2001, around the same time the ‘GameCube’ was first seeing release. Shigeru Miyamoto (co designer) stated in an interview that the concept involved focusing on a new form of player interaction. “The consensus was that power isn’t everything for a console.

Too many powerful consoles can’t coexist. It’s like having only ferocious dinosaurs. They might fight and hasten their own extinction. ” (The Big Ideas Behind Nintendo’s Wii, retrieved on 20/5/11 from http://www. businessweek. com/technology/content/nov2006/tc20061116_750580. htm). It was conceived as a cheap, more easily accessible, fun gaming system. Designed for a broader audience; opposed to its main competition the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The Wii was designed with some differences to its predecessors and competitors.

The main difference is in the controller. Wii utilises a wireless, motion detection controller that resembles a television remote control. This was decided to allow more adults and non-gamers to enjoy the Wii; as the motion capture aspect allowed all ages and experience levels to pick up a controller and point, swing or slice away. This technology eventually leading the way for the ‘Wii Fit’ product range; which in itself is a huge success. Another difference is in the price, with Wii only costing $250 US up against the $500-$600 price for competition consoles.

Since its launch, the sales numbers of the Wii have been higher than its competitors around the world. With the Wii selling more units in America (first half of 2007) than the Xbox 360 and the PS3 combined. (Nintendo the big winner, PS3 dead last for the first half of 2007); with this lead even larger in the Japanese market. As of April, 2011, Nintendo announced they had sold 86. 01 million Wii consoles. (Nintendo: Wii successor coming in 2012 retrieved on 20/6/11 from http://news. cnet. com/8301-13772_3-20056950-52. tml) With Nintendo’s huge customer base, reputation for high quality products, creation of iconic names (Mario Donkey Kong ect. ), history of innovation and understanding of their new broader target market, it is no surprise that the ‘Wii’ has been as successful as it has been. 4a. Theory 1 – Wii marketing in relation to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a human motivation theory that is based around the psychology of consumers as individuals with ongoing or enduring wants and needs.

The theory aids marketers and producers in determining what goods and services satisfy various ‘levels’ of human requirements, with five basic levels of needs that rank from low too high in priority (Refer Appendix A). (Schiffman, 2011). 4b. How does this apply to Nintendo Wii? Nintendo’s Wii is a product that can be associated with the requirements of physiological needs, social needs and esteem or ego needs. Physiological Needs * Health and fitness * Education * Competition and Entertainment

The invention of the Nintendo Wii is about getting gamers off the couch and expanding gaming for greater use in our daily lives, particularly with the development of the Wii Fit which allows for a fill workout and attainment of weightless/fitness goals. Brain-training games, language games, musical games and sports/fitness games have been able to challenge consumers across a range of physiological and cognitive skills (Nintendo 2006). The marketing of Wii was aimed at promoting the benefits of its use, for entertainment in collaboration with the psychological benefits and entertainment factors.

The ‘newness’ of this design means that intrigue was prominent in capturing and maintaining people’s attention and desire to try the new retail. A major landmark in marketing was also created when Nintendo launched its ‘Ambassador Program’ which was a trial for the Wii where people could give feedback on its use. This program involved multigenerational families, hard-core gamers and modern Mums hosting their closest friends and families in a social event that broadened the horizons of their target market (Surette 2006).

Marketing the Wii within households as a ‘necessity’ was aimed at the physiological needs section of Maslow’s Hierarchy, attempting to show that this product is able to fulfil aspects of everyday life for its consumers. Nintendo also ensured that the gaming console was made affordable to consumers, with packaged bundles ranging from $250 – 500 depending on the accessories required (Nintendo Article). This meant that the product was not segregated to being purely a ‘luxury’ item, and places it in an achievable bracket when analysed in Maslow’s theory. Social Needs * Inclusion, importance of the affiliation need Love, affection and happiness * Interaction and relationships building The creation of Wii brought forth a new identity and experience to gaming, making the use of the product accessible to people of all ages and for purposes beyond entertainment. The Wii incorporates both physical and cognitive activity in its games, reaching a wide variety of interests.

The Wii also allows multiple players to be involved in the game at any one time, which is repeatedly demonstrated in its advertising campaigns, affiliating it with the ‘social needs’ in Maslow’s Hierarchy; where we show the want for ompanionship, inclusion and interaction. A primary example of Wii utilising our intrinsic need for ‘belonging’ as a part of the marketing of Wii can be seen in television advertisements featuring popular Australian family the McGrath’s playing active and seemingly enjoyable games on Wii Sports as a bonding session. This was a part of Nintendo targeting both gamers and non-gamers to this new technology, bringing an experience where without the barriers of age or previous experience (Nintendo Thinkbox 2011).

The development of social and cyber networks in conjunction with ownership and playing of the Wii helped to create a ‘community’ of interest, once more building on the need for belonging for its members. The promotional strategy by Nintendo to make Wii Sports a standard purchase with all Wii’s differentiates it further from major competitors in PlayStation, whereas substitutable goods, the Wii works out cheaper with games and console pricing. The Wi-Fi connection on the Wii, also allows consumers to play online against friends, creating more interconnectivity and affirmation of social needs (Wii Article).

Ego Needs * Inward or outwardly associated with self-esteem * Self-evaluating, Achievement * Image Association In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the ‘Ego Needs’ emulate from feelings of achievement, satisfaction with the association with an image and an overall connection with either inward or outward self-esteem through successes. Gaming products are an entertainment device which works on the premise that individuals will want to improve over time and gaining satisfaction out of doing so (Rogers 2004).

This can be linked to the feeling of ‘prestige’ in the ego needs, with the Wii specifically allowing its users to self-evaluate their progress, such as in the game ‘Wii Fit’ where consumers are able to monitor their fitness and health gains from using the game. These health improvements and the image association of the ‘class’ of the Wii brand can also lead to improved self-esteem for the consumer (Schiffman, 2011). Nintendo has used its products differentiation from the norm of gaming products (which are standardised by fixed controllers) and variety of self-improvement games to increase its market share.

Wii sampling events including gaming hours, retail midnight and music tours created hype around a range of games and benefits in accordance with this notion (Janiszewski 2010). Studies have shown particularly that adults and the older generation are a growing share of the market with the ageing workforce, and tend to look for more emotional outcomes or ‘being experiences’ leading to self-realisation and actualisation when purchasing new goods and services (Goodhead 1991).

The positioning of Wii products as a gateway to experiences encourage purchasing for this purpose, making will span from one extreme of Maslow’s Hierarchy to the other. 4c. Conclusions and Recommendations Nintendo launched the Wii marketing campaign with a distinct aim to “involve non-gamers [and] expand the market” (Fils-Aime 2006) in the phenomenon of this new and innovative device. The main problem with the hierarchy in analysing the products connection to the target market is that it can’t be tested empirically so there is no way to measure when one need transfers across to the next.

However, Wii can currently only be connected with three of the five levels of the pyramid, giving potential for new initiatives in marketing campaigns to expand upon this. The way that Wii has been marketed thus far has set is aside from its major competitors in PlayStation and Xbox, sticking to the motto that “playing is believing”, keeping Nintendo Wii as the actively involving gaming console (Janiszewski 2010). The future of the Nintendo Wii would be best benefitted from maintaining the successes of its hand-promotional campaigns, and continuing with expanding this niche market which has enthralled consumers globally. a. Theory 2 – Wii marketing in relation to Emotional Appeals As defined by Schiffman, Emotional motives are those that “imply the selection of goals according to personal or subjective criteria” (2011). There are feelings associated with this type of marketing such as “adventure, fear, romance and status” (Mortimer, 2008) just to name a few. It has become apparent according to research conducted by Mahjan and Wind that marketing to the emotion of an individual is on the rise; especially consider that not all purchasing decisions are made logically.

Therefore it has become a key component of advertising today to be able to connect on an emotional level to the average consumer as well as to get them to purchase the product in question. The Nintendo Wii has been one of the highest selling game consoles in history, surpassing its main competitors, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3. In the discussion below we will discuss how Nintendo has been able to use the emotional appeals approach to connect with their audience and been very successful in doing so. 5b. How does this apply to Nintendo Wii?

The Wii has been one of the largest users of advertising that uses emotional appeals as of late. Because the Nintendo Wii is not your typical product that the average consumer would buy because it is not one that requires a straight forward “rational approach” (Mortimer, 2008). Instead it requires a much more emotionally based decision. It requires us to not listen to that voice of reason that is rational motives and in the case of the example given by Mahjan and wind “just do it”(2002) the logo for the sporting brand Nike. We don’t specifically know what ‘it’ is but it compels our emotions to do something that makes us feel better.

One such example of the Nintendo Wii using this approach that was named earlier in this paper was the television commercial that shows the McGrath Family, one of Australia’s most prolific sporting families, enjoying themselves in the comfort of their home, playing video games on the Nintendo Wii. The advertisement has very little information involved with it but it does however invoke the emotions so that a consumer can be thought to believe that this make me feel better, focusing on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in particular a consumers increased self-esteem (Schiffman, 2011).

This example is shown to be following the trend that the “Messages are becoming more vague while the emotions are becoming more vivid” (Mahajan and Wind, 2002). Other examples of celebrity endorsement for the Wii include Olivia Newton-John, Dame Helen Mirren and Rebecca Gibney. Another example of Nintendo using emotional advertising would be on their international website “www. wii. com “ (Nintendo, 2010), on the website it show a group of at least 3 or more people sitting around a Wii while one person participate in a game.

This exemplifies Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in particular “social needs” (Schiffman, 2011) which is a very large motivator for emotional advertising. An example of this is given by Schiffman et. al. when discussing physiological arousal. He states that “television programs can generate physiological arousal”. When the consumer see’s the commercial, there needs are aroused and in this scenario, their needs are that they need to belong and their thought process makes them think that purchasing a Wii may help them with belonging, whether it would be in a group or in society in general.

Due to this already successful approach involved with the sales of the Nintendo Wii. It is obvious to see that this approach with celebrity endorsements and emotionally motivated commercials is working very successfully with their sales as they have surpassed the 2 million units sold mark in Australia in 2010 (Salter, 2010). Another advertising campaign that has been utilised successfully by Nintendo Wii is the reintroduction and reinvigoration of their original titles back into their video game selection due to the Wii’s “planned obsolescence” (Mahajan and Wind, 2002).

This allows for “continuity in the relationship” (Mahajan and Wind, 2002) as such. An example is Intel, a very successful company that specialises in software chip manufacturing. Just because the product may change, it does not mean that the effect has to as well. Intel have realised this through the consistent use of “its ‘inside Intel’ branding, along with a distinctive set of musical tones and cool looking, clean-room-suited representatives”(Mahajan and Wind, 2002) and because of this consistent approach, Intel have been quite successful. 5c. Conclusions and Recommendations

Nintendo have been one of the market leaders when it comes to emotional appeals. Their market share as well as their advertisements alone, put them apart from any other competitor at this stage, however as more of their rivals start to adapt to this style of advertising, they will need to learn to be able to change their strategy in order to remain a power within the market force. 6a Theory 3 – Wii marketing in relation to Involvement theory Involvement theory focused on how advertisements or brand could stimulate to individuals personality makes link to its.

Involvement has been used commercial ad on TV and paper, the early involvement theories relate to advertising and consumer behavior combined concept from research called as split brain theory. According to research, the left hemispheres of the brain ‘specialized’ in the sorts of information they process, it has roles that primarily cognitive activities such as reading, speaking and attribution information running. On the other side, the right hemisphere is that also responsible for non-verbal, timeless, pictional and holistic information. (Leon schiffman).

It was discussed that activities such as watching commercial ad on TV were fairly passive minimally involving and were controlled by right side, on the other hand, such as reading print media were more involving and were controlled by left side on brain. (Herbert E,Krugman). In other words, the left side is more likely rational, active and realistic. The right side is emotional, metaphoric, impulsive and intuitive. Consumer involvement is now recognized well as an usual, or motivating, factor that drives consumer influences consumer are making decision whether purchase this product or not.

There have four types of involvement level; •High involvement / rational •High involvement / emotional •Low involvement / rational •Low involvement / emotional 6b. How it relates to Wii? Wii now competed against several video consoles such as Xbox, play station in market area. In compare to those feature between PS3 ,Xbox and Wii, both PS3 and Xbox the main difference is use their own pad for using it while Wii uses remote controller which can be used as a handheld pointing device and detects movement in three dimensions. Next picture shows to customer make them attraction of wii, but also it shows to how Wii works.

The available activity is that main difference against other consoles. Wii targets widely even who aren’t big fan of video games because Nintendo expects that they wanted to bring new consumers, not only sell to limited game users so that they focused on Wii strives to stimulate to customer leads play Wii. Generally thinking of playing game, it used to referred aspects of bad sight, Wii is that more easily to use to people more widely age. The main type of involvement involved in a Wii purchase is High Involvement/Emotional.

Although not as expensive as a car or holiday in which most High involvement purchases are associated, the Wii is still expensive enough and has enough competition that it does involve high involvement from its consumers. Wii’s marketers make a point to highlight the differences in their product and its competitors to appeal to the high involvement involved in making a purchase between the 3 big gaming consoles on the market (PlayStation and Xbox being the other two). Their advertisements appeal to the emotional side of high involvement.

Showing the social aspect of Wii in almost all of their ads ( which feature up beat music and bright colours) and also showing the social responsibility and the feelings of becoming healthier with their ‘Wii Fit’ product range. Their website has a huge amount of information on it. Showing features, upcoming additions, games, and many more things that appeal to the high involvement buyer. Nintendo does its best to make the gaming experience a family orientated decision and likes to inform all members of the family of the benefits they could receive from purchasing a Wii.

This also appeals to the emotional side of the consumer through family. 6c. Conclusions and Recommendations Wii still holds a huge advantage over its competitors with emotional involvement and also through our research we found also gives a lot more information on their website as opposed to its main competitors. If you could find fault with their advertising is that it’s stayed the same for the past 3 years and with the introduction of similar products from tis competitors it has lost a bit of its advantage in being different therefore its high involvement style of marketing could begin to be not as effective.

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