News Article

Feature: Nintendo's Celebrity Commercials - The Good, Bad and Cringeworthy

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

So many to choose from

When it comes to marketing Wii, DS and most recently 3DS, Nintendo has rarely been shy about calling in some star power; celebrities have often been given a juicy cheque to pose with a handheld or waggle a Wii Remote like there's no tomorrow. The latest campaign to be announced, this time by Nintendo of America, is “Play As You Are”, with the stated goal of showing "how all kinds of women and young girls can explore their interests and express their individuality using the portable Nintendo 3DS – whether they consider themselves gamers or not". It'll feature U.S. gymnastics gold medal winner Gabrielle Douglas, Dianna Agron (from TV series Glee) and Sarah Hyland (from TV series Modern Family).

Of course all adverts target a particular demographic, whether you like their nature of pigeon-holing groups of gamers or not; celebrity adverts can do that, or on occasion they can be charming enough to appeal to anyone and everyone. Ahead of what we're sure will be more glossy adverts featuring these new stars, we've decided to dig up some of the good, bad and cringeworthy celebrity commercials unleashed in recent years; naturally we're barely scratching the surface. There's a mix of UK, U.S. and worldwide stars, so let's kick off with the 'good', though you may not necessarily agree with us that they should be in this category.

The Good

Ocarina of Time 3D: Robin and Zelda Williams

We have to admit, this one is pretty darn charming. Maybe it's the epic beard that Robin Williams was showing off at the time, or the fact that the footage prompts an overload of nostalgia, but this one can be considered as a 'good' advert, we reckon.

Penelope Cruz plays dress up

We're pretty sure this one will be divisive, but after the standard sequence of pretending to play the game with her sister, Penelope Cruz did dress up as Mario and speak in one of the worst fake Italian accents of all time, which is odd and humorous at the same time. For any Italians watching, we apologise on Ms. Cruz's behalf.

Beyonce has rhythm

Going back a few years, this DS advert was quite typical of the time, with lots of celebrities lining up to show off the Touch Generation of games. This one at least shows off a particularly entertaining game, and one of the biggest stars in the music industry appears to genuinely have fun.

The Bad

Uh-oh, it's Ant and Dec

For those outside of the UK, let's introduce Ant and Dec. The TV duo have been all over prime-time Saturday night TV in the country for too many years to count, and are generally considered as the Princes of light entertainment. Many grown ups with Nintendo systems try to ignore the existence of these adverts.

Boy Band gets silly with Wii Remotes

JLS is a British boy band, and just when Wii Party was adding a little extra first-party gloss to the extensive range of mini-game collections on Wii, the group was presumably given a sack of cash to make it look cool. Only, they didn't, with lots of scripted silliness thrown in to make it one of those "are they actually playing the game?" adverts. A compilation is below, if you dare.

Justin Bieber gets festive with 3DS

Not an advert as such, but a prominent cameo in a music video for the Biebster's cover of All I want for Christmas. No, we won't embed it, if you want it you'll have to find it yourself.

And The Cringeworthy

Keeping it in the family

Ah, the Redknapp family. For those that don't know, it consists of Harry Redknapp (football/soccer Manager), Jamie Redknapp (former football player), Louise Redknapp (singer and model) and that one that nobody knows. This one almost came through in the bad category, but the appropriate footage of Jamie playing the football exercise in Wii Fit saves it from complete shame.

Kim Cattrall flirts with Mario

We'll be honest, this one is worth watching just for Kim Cattrall's cry of "run Mario run!". That said, it's a peculiar advert aired in the UK that aims to tap into a Sex and the City vibe... with a Mario game. It has the classic line: "there are many men in my life, but for a few minutes, or a few hours, I'll always find time for Mario".

In the case of some of these adverts it's easy to see what audience they were trying to target, often families, but ultimately they're often just a load of old pants.

We've only shown a few examples, but what are the worst or most cringeworthy Nintendo adverts of the last generation or so of consoles, in your opinion?

Sponsored links by Taboola

More Stories

User Comments (41)

k8sMum

#1

k8sMum said:

anything with robin williams is good. the rest is rubbish.

i am slightly offended by the nonsense of The latest campaign to be announced, this time by Nintendo of America, is “Play As You Are”, with the stated goal of showing "how all kinds of women and young girls can explore their interests and express their individuality using the portable Nintendo 3DS – whether they consider themselves gamers or not"

it feels like dumbing down gaming so that we girls will try it. unfortunately, they ignore the fairly large base of women who are gamers who just want, like the guys, good games.

a patronising attitude is not the way to go, imo.

sketchturner

#2

sketchturner said:

Is that Kim Cattrall commercial really supposed to convince a bunch of middle-aged women to start carrying around a 3DS to play Mario? What the crap!?
That Penelope Cruz one was pretty awful, but when she looks that good, it really doesn't matter...

BigBluePanda

#3

BigBluePanda said:

I seem to recall there being a Dragon Quest IX advert, with two girls at the helm. All they seemed to highlight were the outfits you could dress your character in, barely any mention of the RPG itself...

k8sMum

#4

k8sMum said:

@sketchturner

that's what nintendo doesn't seem to get: showing eye candy playing your system appeals more to males than females. it ain't rocket science.

Ren

#6

Ren said:

penelope cruz one is great, if they just took the ending off. weird. The robin Williams thing is a genuinely good ad.

OorWullie

#7

OorWullie said:

Man Penelopes sister is hot!I can't think of much things better than local multiplayer with these 2.Or even better,local multi roleplaying :-D

Chozo85

#9

Chozo85 said:

You didn't mention the time when the Nintendo marketing department decided to use Jedward for a brief period to promote their games! That could easily fall under a separate category all together which I would label 'excruciating'.

FiveDigitLP

#10

FiveDigitLP said:

Personally, I thought the Cruz one was dumb.
On the other hand, anything with Zelda and/or Robin is bound to be an instant hit.
Also, I remember seeing one with Carrie Underwood for Nintendogs. I think it was the first time I'd seen a celebrity Nintendo ad, so I thought it was kind of odd. In the end, it seemed to me that she was actually enjoying it, so I thought it was cool that Nintendo was trying to reach out to the more casual demographics (and boy did they!)

k8sMum

#11

k8sMum said:

@wiiwii Man Penelopes sister is hot!I can't think of much things better than local multiplayer with these 2.Or even better,local multi roleplaying

point proven.

Haywired

#12

Haywired said:

They're just awful. The soul-crushing aspirational "lifestyle" blandness, the clunky, patronising dialogue, the embarrassing corniness, the sheer transparency and desperation on show from Nintendo, the fact that no one is convinced that they actually play these games in real life.

Whenever these kinds of Nintendo ads come on TV I have to hide behind the couch and hope that those watching with me have forgotten that I ever told them I'm a Nintendo fan. Still, none of these celebrity ones are as bad as this nauseatingly twee atrocity from Nintendo UK, in which they ensured that the Wii would never be cool or popular again:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFnZ8q3C-OE

Nintendo of America have been doing some awesome ads recently though. These are what Nintendo commercials should be like, ie. actually fun:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC5r0OlSXcI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjqJ80PSfrY&feature=relmfu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMuLzRxrNYI

k8sMum

#13

k8sMum said:

@Haywired

omg. that has to be the winner in awfulness.

i wonder if no one in pr has any concept of what older gamers look like? or sound like? it would make a better advert, but most likely would have to be heavily censored, lol.

Void

#16

Void said:

@BigBluePanda You can't forget the other one with those 2 idiots, I can't remember their names, but you should be able to find NL's article under the 'WTF' tag.
edit: Oh, yeah I found it, Jedward? I think, even their name is stupid.

Emaan

#19

Emaan said:

The Robin Williams one is so legendary. He's such an awesome guy. :D

Boo_Buster

#20

Boo_Buster said:

The Robin Williams one is great. The other two "good" ones are mostly "good" because of the pretty faces :D

Crystalking18

#23

Crystalking18 said:

What about the SNL skit for Wario Land Shake It? That one might not have been an ad or commercial, but it was still hilarious.

SirSmugleaf

#24

SirSmugleaf said:

I think the Penelope Cruz one should be in cringeworhy, but...
The Zelda and Robin Williams one is very good, though!

NintyMan

#25

NintyMan said:

I definitely agree with the Robin and Zelda Williams ad, even just for the beard alone. I just saw that Nintendo uploaded a recent video of Gabby Douglas the U.S. gymnast with a 3DS.

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#28

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

Why don't they have an advert with Fabio in a speedo playing WiiU by the beach? That'd be a hit with everyone who has a brain and an eye for beauty :*

DarkNinja9

#29

DarkNinja9 said:

im glad you guys didnt post anything Bieber-ish -.- you guys are awesome for sure :D

i agree the gamecube commercials were great

weirdproq

#30

weirdproq said:

I liked the Robin Williams one. Another Celebrity commercial, although he wasn't a celebrity yet, was the Pitfall commercial with Jack Black as a kid.

Void

#31

Void said:

I have to say, watching those commercials again, that one with the cruz sisters is awful, the only one I would call good is the Robin and Zelda Williams one, the Beyonce one was fair, but none of them will compete with the Doritoes super bowl commercials. ;)

@Stardust, BLASPHEMY! ARAMONIC! CRIMINAL!
That cellphone is more than a year old! >:[
@Smexi' ... Thanks, for putting that image in my mind and my search history, I'm going to run to the store now and get a large bottle of brain bleach.

k8sMum

#33

k8sMum said:

@SMEXIZELDAMAN Why don't they have an advert with Fabio in a speedo playing WiiU by the beach? That'd be a hit with everyone who has a brain and an eye for beauty

yeah it's all fun and games til somebody gets a seagull in the face! :-p

saiizan

#36

saiizan said:

I liked ALL of them! Used to be fans of Ant & Dec, what a lovable couple. My most favourite has to be Penelope Cruz & her sister! The end made me laugh. I've not played a Mario game for so so long ever since I keep getting migraines from playing New Super Mario Bros for Wii. The game just gives me tension cos there's so many things to look out for! It's just me cos I'm a highly sensitive person. But after looking at that ad, I'm considering buying it & maybe play it in short bursts. Looks & SOUNDS fun!!! Love you Nintendo!

allav866

#39

allav866 said:

Well, there were other commercials featuring Robin and Zelda Williams, my second favorite of which being the Four Swords: Anniversary Edition advertisement, which shows Robin losing to Zelda, then coming back after shaving his epic beard for a rematch.

florecita

#40

florecita said:

haha, the one with the cruz sisters is terrible.By the way there is no way you can make a good Italian accent when you still have a thick-spanish accent.

Haywire, that is very funny. The UK video was pretty bad but it manages to be a little bit funny because of how odd it is.

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...