News Article

Nintendo Addresses Confusion Surrounding Wii U's Name In Latest TV Commercial

Posted by Christopher Costabile

"We already have a Wii, sweety-kins!"

Nintendo seems to be getting serious with its latest Wii U advertising campaign. The company's latest television spot continues its series of humorous "Pitch" commercials that playfully feature children using diagrams and formal presentations to communicate to their parents that purchasing a Wii U just makes good sense. This particular spot showcases Super Mario 3D World and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD as premier games that kids will want to play this Christmas.

Standing out among the advert's main points, however, is the moment when one of the children mockingly imitates his mother, saying "We already have a Wii, sweety-kins," to which the main child delivering "The Pitch" responds, "Wii U's a total upgrade, mother!"

These statements attempt to address the confusion among parents and other video game consumers about Wii U's name. Much has been made in the media of the Wii U moniker, with critics pointing out that it fails to deviate far enough from Nintendo's previous console, the Wii, and that some apparently assume Wii U is just a peripheral add-on to a console they already own.

Nintendo itself has had various reactions to these criticisms during the life of the console. Before Wii U even launched, rumours began swirling that a name change was in the pipeline. Then, at the end of August 2013, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime made the bold claim that Wii U's name was not at all the source of poor sales for the system.

Gradually, Nintendo appears to be reversing course in its refusal that there might be confusion surrounding the Wii U brand. Time will tell if the latest ad campaign can lift the Wii U by educating the public. After all, as of right now, even your local video game sales clerk might not know what it is.

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User Comments (103)



TheLilK98 said:

It's about time. Hopefully all the commercials won't be aimed at kids though.



ULTRA-64 said:

The biggest failure of the Wii u has been it'd lack of media exposure. Even junk sells loads of you push it into consumers faces enough. Nintendo made the mistake of assuming the popularity of the Wii would migrate through a similar name which back fired , and let's not forget the changing of target audience and lack of in store exposure and now the whole mess is fubar!! I've seen 3 Wii u ads in 8 months, 2 Zelda, 1 Mario. In 1 hour I counted more for both xbone AND ps4. That difference is staggering and shows how hopelessly lost Nintendo are at marketing and brand building!



Buduski said:

Yeah im glad they are targeting the younger crowd, but when will they show people in there 20's-30's playing having a good time and all of a sudden there girlfriend/boyfriend shows up and takes over the TV, so they switch to the gamepad and keep gaming or they just get a bowl of popcorn and watch Netflix or Nintendo TVii to show off the Wii U as more than a gaming machine? All those are potential TV adds. Even showing what Miiverse is and how it works would be a step in the right direction



micronean said:

Wait. That commercial doesn't have game footage of players shooting each other in the face...



JimLad said:

That is indeed how it's done.
This may cement their rep as kiddie system, but that's the market they need to go after right now. Microsoft and Sony are letting this demographic slip right through their fingers.



MadAdam81 said:

PS, Xbox, iPad, Windows etc all have the same name but minor suffix change each generation, and not had any problems.



FritzFrapp said:

"It's a new system that also plays all your old great Wii games and accessories."
Why is that so difficult, Nintendo?



ToniK said:

They could've flooded the whole world with commercials by now with all the money lying around. Better late than never I guess. Great commercial considering the usual standards.



Placlu said:

Personally i still think it causes more issues cause the kid calls it an Upgrade. Like, it's not really new, it's just the same thing but slightly better. You don't really see PS4 marketing like. It's a PS3 but better..... You see them use words like "Evolution" and stuff, like its superior to the last, not just a slight change that you already have.



UrsulaWins said:

That after saying "Noo Nooo they all know the difference" a year and a half ago. A learning hypocrite is still a hypocrite tbh.



SpookyMeths said:

Yeah, still not quite there. It's not an "upgrade." It's an entirely new system. Why can Nintendo not say these words? It's like Nintendo itself doesn't even know what the Wii U is. Or they think they can rely on its install base to advertise for free via word of mouth. Well, big fail there.

As for targeting this at parents and children, that's fine. Older gamers already know what a Wii U is. Some will buy one as their primary console. Others will buy one alongside their PS4 or XBO.



kidicaroots said:

NOA is clearly aiming at parents this holiday season, with all these recent commercials. It's a good strategy for boosting sales, but it will also further promote the misconception that Nintendo products are just for children.



Shworange said:

You are so damned right on the money! I can't escape the new console's branding. Nintendo plays hide and seek with their commercials.



JimLad said:

@D3athBr1ng3r187 I agree they still need more core games. The kids are an important demographic though because they will be the next gerneration of core fans.
As well as these games they also need to show Pikmin and Sonic, and maybe even some upcoming titles.



divinelite said:

Don't parent wait their kids to present wii u to them like that? Or will kids try to replicate the ads?



Mikky said:

Hopefully Nintendo will balance this out with a commercial featuring older players. However, this commercial does get the job done as far as marketing goes.



BakaKnight said:

Cute advertisament and great to see more commercials in general.

Even here in Italy with the holidays approching I'm starting to see various WiiU and 3DS commercials on TV.

I swear I jumped in shock when I saw them, I was giving up in seeing Nintendo at least try to sell their consoles... very glad to realize I was worring for nothing ^_^



Boxmonkey said:

Too little too late? Maybe, on this very page I'm looking at Xbox one adverts every night I see 4 or 5 adds for the other two systems and none for nintendo. It's only 5 weeks until Christmas



Magiick said:

The acting these kids did are ten times better than the rest of the commercials Nintendo has made. The only issue I have is that the girl said "Upgrade" which is still going confuse parents. All they need to say is that its a "brand new" system. Sigh. I wish I could be apart of the marketing team for Nintendo this would have never happened. lol



BlatantlyHeroic said:

Upgrade. Upgrade. Upgrade. Why did they say upgrade? Of all words... they chose that one... Do you think parents are really going to understand that? Nope. Why is it so hard to just say "brand new console/system"? Why... just... why? They need a psychologist on their marketing team.



darkgamer001 said:

It was pretty good, I actually laughed at the Mum- Triforce of Power bit. But then they used the term 'upgrade'. Why on earth are they using the term upgrade? Is "a new console" that difficult to use in an ad?

Yes, technically a new console is an upgrade to the previous one, I can see some people looking at it that way...but it just invites consumer confusion who think that it just adds something to the previous console



FineLerv said:

Not entirely convinced about them showing Wind Waker while they are pitching a new console...



Fazermint said:

This ad doesn't really do it, either, does it...
What we need is a TV ad showing footage from MH3U, X, SM3DW, Mario Kart 8, SSBU, and stuff like that, while shouting WII U, THE NEW GENERATION OF NINTENDO CONSOLES.



Sinister said:

Don't say upgrade Nintendo ... say it is a new console.
Man how hard can it be to make this point as clear as you can get.



MAB said:

I'm sure if a parent went into a store and asked for a WiiU the clerk would give them a damn WiiU... It's not 2012 anymore



meltendo said:

Aargh! Nintendo had a one year lead! Imagine if they gave us a NEW Zelda this holiday season (not just the well reviewed 3DS Zelda game. Oh well--many of us still love and stand by you.



Memeboy3 said:

@BlatantlyHeroic The girl Said ''It's an upgrade mother, did you get younger?''. Meaning a joke that it is a New system and making fun of the people who think it's not Next gen. But then again it could be another meaning of Bribeing the mother. It could be 2 ways..



Bizzyb said:

What's wrong with calling it an upgrade as long as people buy it? We upgrade things in our life all the time; TVs, Vehicles, places we live. Sure it's the same basic product (in Wii Us case a videogame system) but now it's better, more powerful, new features, and most importantly, games that can ONLY be played on it. Which is a message I think Nintendo clearly got acoss.

Seriously, if parents can understand that the newly boxed PS4 is not the same as a PS3, why can't they understand that the newly boxed Wii U is not the same as a Wii?



Trikeboy said:

People are getting dumber. NES to SNES was perfectly fine and understandable but they can't grasp that Wii U with different console shape and game pad is not a Wii.



divinelite said:

@Bizzyb simply
Ps4 is after ps3, wii u is... Hard to think as next wii
I've seen much but I really think they should say Super Wii or just Wii Too



DarkNinja9 said:

agreed with trikeboy but its true though ppl now a days let their smartphones do the thinking for them so its no wonder ppl dont get common sense stuff now a days

but cheesey ad and yeah you will get someone eventually saying how nintendo is only for kids again the only way to shut those ppl up is by also showing a more hard core type ad but those games havent been released yet on wii u so



AJWolfTill said:

This commercial is great, it may aggravate the "I'm so hardcore! "14-17 bracket. But it hits all the buttons I think. Parents and younger kids are the ones that tv adverts should be targeted at though as older gaming enthusiasts would have already made up their mind about the system by now. Also kudos to Nintendo for promoting Rayman Legends with it's big guns. So very deserved.



guttertalk said:

Folks are making too much out of "upgrade." When a husband or wife makes an "upgrade," it's a replacement, not an addition.



mostro328 said:

They had a year to get this out thete to push this, i hope it works out, they really need some new blood in nintendo



Quickman said:

@Blastoise-san Absolutely, it's a shame that some people on here are incapable of thinking outside Playstation and Microsoft.

Also it's good to see Nintendo pushing Rayman Legends, I think that a "Versus Bundle" (NSMBU + Rayman Legends) would have done extremely well just after launch, especially if Rayman Legends had stayed exclusive to Wii U.



JimLad said:

Maybe the reason they chose the word upgrade instead of 'new system' is because IT'S NOT A NEW SYSTEM ANYMORE.



MAB said:

If they really wanted to put a new spin on marketing the name they should change the U = YOU to U = UPGRADE... The Wii Upgrade, alleged confusion problem solved



LztheQuack said:

The thing is, "upgrading" electronics these days refers to buying a new device and replacing your old one. Nintendo is actually using that term correctly and parents understand from phones and tablets what Nintendo is referring to.



Ophis said:

Wii U IS an upgrade from the Wii, you can even still use the same Wii accessories and play Wii games on it. In this days people understand that an upgrade is a new device, as the iphone 5s is an upgrade of the iphone 5



Quickman said:

@LUIGITORNADO The idea is that you're essentially introducing the NSMB audience to Rayman Legends, bundling them together makes sense with both being platform games, W101 isn't really as accessible regarding the "causal" market.



Platypus101 said:

@ULTRA-64 first half of your statement true... Brand building and marketing are NOT their weak points... Their complacency is. I'm going with the idea that many others here agree on, they were relying on 90% of Wii owners to purchase the Wii U. let's not all forget the early early videos of Reggie stating (re: gamepad) we will not include a Wiimote because we have sold 60 million, that's quite a few homes..." I'm paraphrasing, but I'm sure we all remember that.



BrightBeing said:

Shockingly, last night I saw 3, count 'em, THREE Wii U commercials on TV. I was shocked as all get-out.



manganimist said:

oh noes! bad marketing, even though they tried! someone call the ambulance! WIIUWIIUWIIUWIIU



hotlfusion said:

I think the whole issue of people misunderstanding the concept that the wii u is not the wii is overblown. I am not saying there is no case of confusion but I just think it not as widespread as reported. When a system sells badly you must find an excuse and this one fits.
If they were addressing the confusion issue as some think it could have been done better in my view.
"Upgrade" is ambiguous. "Upgrade" is adding more memory to your PC, not buying a new one. At the same time you can "Upgrade" your phone which is to get a new one.
Rather than "upgrade" I would have used "new", as in "the new wii u console comes with the all new gamepad" or something to that effect.




Technosphile said:

I don't think it's a great ad, but run that 50 times a day on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and MTV, and maybe you'll sway some kids.

Now then, Nintendo: where are the ads you intend to run 24/7 on ESPN? I hope for your sake that that was not it.



Kruger85 said:

LMFAO this is the most PATHETIC thing ever!!!!
It has took Nintendo A YEAR to FINALLY release that the name was the biggest epic fail mistake ever and release an advert that tells customers the differences between s Wii and a Wii U?LOL
The name is what has screwed up the Wii U from day one and NOTHING more!!
All they had to do was call it Wii2 and ALL THE CONFUSION this past year would have been avoided!!
Nintendo are just making themselves look really lame with these epic fail marketing ads!!



ohhaime said:

I think it would completely solve the Wii/Wii U problem if they just renamed it Wii Tuu (as in Wii 2) like it should have been named in the first place.

Edit: You beat me to the punch Kruger85 .



Kruger85 said:

The first year of the Wii u has been an epic fail the system is not selling well so why don't Nintendo rename it Wii 2 in time for the holidays?
Something they should have done after 6 months!!



KillScottKill said:

I saw it last night during Raw. I guess it's a good and I get why they did it, but man... It's embarrassing that such a thing is even necessary. If only they'd chosen "Wii 2."



GamerJunkie said:

Its just sad..... they are using all of their money to advertise on kids, that's all they care about because real gamers don't care about the machine. Real gamers know the difference, they just don't want the machine.

So they are focusing all of their money on parents and grandparents trying to make sure they know the difference between their 2 consoles to buy for 6 year old tommy.

I like my Wii U eventhough it is a disappointment, it will give me a few good 1st party games per year, but its embarrassing Nintendo has to do this kind of stuff...



Laxeybobby said:

So where is the advertising for the UK or has Nintendo decided the market is lost here?
All the future advertising I have seen on here are for USA. Nothing from Nintendo Europe.



DerpSandwich said:

I made this exact same rant the last time they made a new ad "explaining the difference" between the systems. In this one, she still said, "upgrade" instead of "brand new system."


Seriously, how many times is this going to happen? How many more commercials are going to go live, claiming to put the issue to rest, only to not just say "new system"? Every last person in their ad department needs to be fired.



FJOJR said:

Should have been Super Wii. And then Wii 64 after that. And then WiiCube. And the WiiWii.



hotlfusion said:

Since their ad got banned on British TV earlier this year I have seen nothing from them on TV in terms of the wii u. Granted I don't watch that much TV but in that time I have seen ads from Sony and you can't get X360 (and now XB1) ads off the TV.
It's like they are concentrating on the US (N.America) and Japan. Maybe they think the UK is a lost cause.



ChrisCostabile said:

Well to be fair, she did say it was a total upgrade. haha. Also I do think the fact that the boy makes fun of his mother by saying "we already have a Wii" implies that she is very wrong in thinking that.

But yeah, even though I didn't go more in-depth on the word "upgrade" in the article, I agree with everyone posting about that. Their message needs to be far more blatant, and I was also a bit frustrated that she used the word "upgrade."



3MonthBeef said:

I had no idea what the kid in glasses said toward the end of the ad. Had to read the comments.



aj_fowl said:

@TheLilK98 Why not? There aren't any dudebro gamers that will ever buy a Nintendo console and any adult gamer has already made up their mind.



Ryo_Hazuki-san said:

@Nintenjoe64 I think if they went with something like the HDS in the 3ds lne but HDs would have been so great! Nintendo HDS imean its HD and Duel screen and basically is a upgraded version of the ds line of consoles. sooo yea they would have sold more.. Wii u does not do it for me !



Marshi said:

Fantastic,now where are the ads in the uk and other parts of the world nintendo?



GamerJunkie said:

@Bizzyb Umm its teens, adults that want a machine to play games on. Not children in the ad Nintendo made 8 year olds....

You don't understand that? Nintendo is advertising to parents and little children now because teen and up gamers already know what Wii U is and most do not want it. So, Nintendo is focusing on kids and parents that don't know the difference between a Wii and Wii U let alone a PS4 or Xbox 1 and Wii U.

Its a smart move out of desperation, trying to get people that don't know what is what to buy their system.



gohanrage said:

I think this is a Very Important Commercial. But what channels do these get aired on. I only ever see PS4 Commercials



Darknyht said:

If this is the best that whatever marketing company they have been using can come up with after a year, then they really need to be let go.



Tony_342 said:

The "We already have a Wii, Sweetie-kins" part reminds me of the first time I ever saw / played an N64. It was at a mall with a friend of mine. We were 12 or 13 at the time. There was a kid (maybe 8 years old) in front of us playing Super Mario 64 as we, and his mother, watched. He eventually said, "Mom! I want this for Christmas!" She said, "You already have a Nintendo." To which he replied, "Yeah, but this is a new one." Then, she said these words that I will never forget: "What's the difference?" My friend and I looked at each other like we couldn't believe what we had just heard. We had both been standing there in absolute amazement at what we were seeing (three dimensional games!), and couldn't understand how she could be so utterly unimpressed.

To be honest, still to this day, I don't really understand how somebody could go from 16-bit, 2D games to fully 3D, polygonal worlds and not think, "Wow! This is a technological marvel!"



Chris720 said:

Nintendo... Nintendo... Nintendo... Is your console new or the same recipe with an addition? Make up your mind before everyone bails.



TheLilK98 said:

@aj_fowl My eighteen and nineteen year old cousins are considering buying a Wii U, and they're pretty much textbook dudebros. So not all adult gamers have made up their minds, and not alll dudebros hate Nintendo. @KingofSaiyans Which is why I said hopefully. As in hopefully they'll decide to market the more mature games as well.



ModernMARVEL said:

I really don't understand what's so confusing. New numbers (PS[4], XBOX [ONE], etc.) seem to make people know they're different (PS4 I can understand though) but a letter suddenly makes it the same to everyone? Can someone explain?



DESS-M-8 said:

The Wii U has a mass appeal to be marketed at gamers 27-45 years old, the off tv play is a BIG game changer. I'm a 31 year old with a wife and two kids and it has been YEARS since I've had this much opportunity to game. My son can play skylanders more than normal as mum can send it to the Gamepad and use the tv for something she wants to watch, or background cartoons for our little girl. Meanwhile we're all in the same room interacting with each other, watching him on his game.
Something that has NEVER been possible on any other format. I can online deathmatch on COD, slay on assassins creed, kick donkey as batman, me and the wife take the Gamepad in the kitchen and have Netflix running on the kitchen table while sitting in the kitchen. My boy can play games safely and we can watch him or we can send it quietly to his controller.
Absolutely amazing console and I cannot recommend it any higher.
Everyone who has loved games in the last 25 years as I have? Get a Wii U
Just starting with games? THIS is is where you should start and learn everything from Donkey Kong through to what the future holds ALL in the palm of your hand



yvanjean said:

WOW did Nintendo actually make a commercial that actually explain that WiiU is a new console while at the same making it look like tones of fun? wow



Mr_Video said:

I'm not sure I understand all the negativity around this commercial. It's a good move to focus on the younger audience, with Christmas coming and all. Commercials like these will definitely sway parents looking for a kid-friendly experience towards the Wii U. Xbox One and PS4 are definitely missing that audience from the ads I've seen from the two.
Though I really do hope Nintendo will dish out some ads targeting older audiences soon. The Wii U definitely isn't just for little kids, they should make that more clear.



scrubbyscum999 said:

OK, what they need is show this commercial everywhere. And I mean everywhere. TV, internet, radio, pirate radio, those little ads before a Blu Ray movie starts, when you open your frig, everywhere. You've been asleep advertising team of the big N, time to make up ground



tanookisuit said:

Thank you NOA. Seems Santa came early bearing a gift of a crowbar to dislodge their collective heads from a dark and stinky place running an ad like this.

Now keep up the increasing of marketing intelligence and run these ads with furious repetition through 2013 on major networks during prime time. If MS or Sony runs one, you run one too, keep it out there, keep it running, get people informed. Wii is NOT WiiU, and WiiU is only $300 with 2 free games in the box. Cheaper + 2 freebies that would cost around $100 means happy consumers.



dereq said:

The whole WiiU name made me think of "Wii University", cause the U font kinda reminds me of Miami(FL)'s logo. "Graduate to WiiU!! All the frat boys are doing it!!"



gamingreal said:

Not sure that this is quite clear enough to parents but its got to help, i think they need to explain its not just a tablet for your wii but the 2 free games should help, anyway what are the free games are the the bundled games or time limited free downloadable games (like they did to sell the 3ds)



DESS-M-8 said:

Officially change all packaging and commercials too Wii 2 NOW!!!! Before it's too late. And BLAST tv commercials like visual diaohreaa.
It needs to simplifies to the one basic fact that this is a new console, so even the name on a piece of paper is clear to even the simplest mind,
And people NEED to SEE games, LOTS of games, NOW



GamerJunkie said:

@Frapp "Real gamer" means people that know the difference between a Wii and a Wii U.

Nintendo is marketing to idiots that can't even tell what wii or wii u is.... those are not gamers, those are kids and clueless parents or grandparents.

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