Nintendo UK has admitted that many consumers don't realise the Wii U is a new console, and that it intends to bolster awareness by embarking on an ambitious in-store campaign with leading UK supermarket chain Tesco.
Nintendo is making sure that its new system has a considerable presence in Tesco stores, and is sending out promotional leaflets to 300,000 Tesco customers who purchased Wii consoles in the past but have yet to upgrade to a new games system. Money-off vouchers will also be offered.
Tesco is the biggest supermarket chain in the UK and is the second-largest retailer in the world measured by profits — after US firm Wal-Mart.
Nintendo has revealed that its combined marketing budget for 3DS and Wii U is significantly higher than it was last year, and that in addition to working with Tesco the company intends to air a series of television adverts in the run up to the all-important Christmas shopping season. This will be augmented by online promotions, print adverts and an "out of home" tour which aims to reach 115,500 shoppers up and down the UK.
Speaking to MCV, UK marketing director Shelly Pearce explained that the company is well aware of the problems its new console is facing:
We haven’t had the sales we wanted on Wii U hardware. We haven’t had the software for most of this year. But we have some quite ambitious numbers, particularly with some of our biggest franchises coming.
Our monthly tracking shows that Wii remains the No.1 console for brand awareness. This offers us a massive opportunity to convert Wii owners to Wii U.
Interest is starting to grow but we know we have a lot of work to do. There was a big misconception at launch about what Wii U is. And one of the big messages is that this is a new console and a new controller. There are many people out there that don’t know what this is.
With rival stores like Asda scaling back its support for Wii U, it will be a much-needed shot in the arm for the system to get exposure in a chain as large as Tesco.
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