News Article

Video: Pitching a Wii U to Parents Requires Serious Production Values

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Does your Dad say "Bow!"?

With the Holiday shopping season upon us, not to mention the upcoming madness of Black Friday, Nintendo is unleashing a new TV commercial in North America called "The Pitch". It involves two siblings selling the concept of Wii U, Super Mario 3D World and "togetherness"; it's not as dry as it sounds, honest.

There's some lovely over-acting, of course, but it is supposed to be a light-hearted advert, after all. The kids explain that it's a system that'll boost family time, all while impressively giving a demonstration on the typically expensive TV. It's not half-baked, however, with the son at one point appearing over the footage on the TV; there's some serious fictional effort behind the pitch, and it may be difficult for others to be quite so convincing.

It's humorous fluff, however, while we can't get enough of the goofy dad's "bow" sign-off. What do you think of it?

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User Comments (72)

gloom

#4

gloom said:

I like that they emphasize "upgrade to Wii U" because that is basically what families will be doing and will see it as. It may have been cheesy but the concept of the video made a lot of sense. I feel like they are on the right track here with how to promote the Wii U.

tsm7

#5

tsm7 said:

This really is the best job they've done marketing to parents thus far

Superstick

#6

Superstick said:

Nintendo this is great, but you need to stop aiming at the casual market. Go for the hardcore! Show off the Pro Controller and not Wii Remotes. This game uses both! It's also confusing people if this is a new console. My mom still calls the GamePad a "WiiPad" and I find that pretty ironic considering that she bought it for me. :/ I love you Nintendo, but almost no third party games coming around the end of the year/2014 involves families getting together. And tonight is the night people go insane over PS4. : I hope Nintendo can win this gen.

net34a

#7

net34a said:

This ad is ridiculous. Again, Nintendo appealing for the casual matket instead for the core fans. Also calling Wii U a Wii "upgrade" doesn't help either, all you're trying to do is commit the sames mistakes as with Wii. You'll not attract casuals or non-gamer people with a controller which looks pretty similar to any tablet. Wii was different because anyone could jump into action by swinging the Wiimote, but Wii U is different Nintendo. Let the Wii rest in peace and focus on gamers! If you do that, you'll attract third parties and more people with them.

Writing from my very own Wii U.

MJKOP

#8

MJKOP said:

I saw on the front cover of a magazine, a competition to win a Wii and subscription to Netflix, it said the same on the contents page, win a Wii & subscription, out of curiosity I went to the competition page & just as I feared, the prize was actually a Wii U. People really need this education on the difference, it's a serious problem!

JimLad

#9

JimLad said:

Marketing towards disconnected families is not a bad strategy actually.
They haven't got much to offer hardcore gamers right now so why not.
This ad doesn't leave me with bits of vomit in the mouth like previous family 'couch' ads.

Also I think the word 'upgrade' may be integral to removing some of the confusion over it's relation to the Wii.

Robottiimu2000

#10

Robottiimu2000 said:

I like the way the show Mario 3d, but the bundle they are selling is the Mario & Luigi U - pack... marketing people gotta <3 them !

FritzFrapp

#12

FritzFrapp said:

I think upgrade is the wrong choice of word. They should focus on words like 'new system' or even 'follow-up' – something that makes clear that the GamePad is not a Wii accessory. Half the problem is the adverts do not focus on the console – that should be the first thing shown with a close-up of the name on the console.
The marketing teams are failing with Wii U, although I believe it should be an easy sell.

divinelite

#13

divinelite said:

Well I've seen this on kotaku and they have interesting opinion lol

Anyway, selling wii u for casual is the best thing ever. See wii party u for reference

  • writing from my vita
Birthday_Boy

#14

Birthday_Boy said:

@net34a If you haven't noticed, Nintendo only takes this whole "targeting casual market" in public advertising for several reasons:
1. They are more likely to be convinced by commercials
2. Commercials are the only way they get any information about the consoles in most cases.
3. It helps that Sony and Microsoft aren't targeting this audience at the moment.

They've been targeting "core" players with Nintendo Directs, and trailers. Do you know how many times I see people convinced by a Wii U game because of a trailer?
Nintendo referred it to "upgrade" because they know that referring it to a console got plenty of confusion. People thought it was a better Wii. People completely thought there was no difference between New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and U. Nintendo also know that plenty of families still use their Wii, so this "upgrade" commercial is relevant to their situation.

DualWielding

#15

DualWielding said:

This is one of Nintendo main problem at the moment, they expect children to bug their parents about getting them a video game console and that parents would buy the cheaper more family friendly over Xbone and PS4, the problem is that chidlren are not bugging their parents about video game consoles anymore, they are bugging them about tablets and smartphones...

Genesaur

#17

Genesaur said:

Yay for cornball ads! As long as the message is effective (and this one actually, clearly presents one) I'm down.

MAB

#18

MAB said:

To the people wanting to aim for the 'hardcore' market... There's no such thing yo ;)

Weewahz

#19

Weewahz said:

I think it's good that they emphasized "2 games free" at the end - it shows the value of the console.

Pokefanmum82

#21

Pokefanmum82 said:

I like this commercial. I think it is cute. Nintendo has always been about family so I don't know why so many people on this site are mad about this commercial. Why do people keep using hardcore when referring to gamers. Why can't gamers just be gamers? I am not a casual gamer. I would call myself a serious gamer. I hate the term hardcore.

N64ever

#22

N64ever said:

I think it's an excellent commercial. After all the other systems will be showing nothing but shooting games and gore games right now. So showing that there is a console out there that has more family friendly choices is a good pitch in my opinion.

Nareva

#23

Nareva said:

I thought it was pretty funny, but more importantly, it never felt awkward, unlike those Wayne Brady commercials.

Gso

#24

Gso said:

Most so called core gamers skip Nintendo. They already have their Xbox and Playstation. Nintendo is great at doing their own thing, they are a family friendly product. The ad could have been better though. Btw I have a pro controller and even I don't even know what to use it with.

Gerbwmu

#26

Gerbwmu said:

Saying Nintendo needs to market to "hardcore" gamers is like saying Disney should make XXX movies......Gamers who will buy Nintendo either already have or will as soon as SSB, X or Bayonetta 2 comes out. Nintendo is family friendly fun with an occasional gem not suitable for the younger crowd and I hope they stay that way.

sinalefa

#27

sinalefa said:

I like this one a lot. Short, direct and fun. And it advertises Super Mario 3D World.

ultraraichu

#29

ultraraichu said:

One thing I notice with nintendo's commercials, they show the actual gameplay. For the most part the other systems and third parties just show real people acting as in-game characters or a CGI clip.

Tra_Venous

#30

Tra_Venous said:

@ultraraichu exactly - so many people seem to miss that fact - for whatever reason, people are just more attracted to flash and hype...Nintendo's recent commercials give across a better example of what you're getting, whereas you're treated to mini, cliche-infested Michael Bay movies with the others.

Gerbwmu

#31

Gerbwmu said:

@ultraraichu - Honestly, I think they are avoiding showing game play footage because most people won't be able to tell much difference from their current consoles. When you sell your product based on it's power and then show 1st generation software that doesn't look any better then the console they already own then you have a hard time selling it to the masses.

real_gamer

#32

real_gamer said:

In my opinion they are a year late, seriously a year late with an advertisement to give people a reason to buy a Wii U. The commercial could have been better in my opinion and I hope the Wii U see a serious change during the holidays.

Noonch

#33

Noonch said:

Could be slightly misleading to feature 3D world but include New Super Mario Wii U but....it's an ad.

Gso

#34

Gso said:

It's funny how people mentioned that Nintendo failed with the Wii by ignoring the "hardcore" gamers. Yet it was their most profitable console. Now that they try releasing games for that crowd sales are extremely low.

zeldagaymer93

#37

zeldagaymer93 said:

I thought they learned their lesson already by using the term "upgrade." I keep thinking their advertising phrases are going to improve but alas they do not. Nintendo... what are you doing? Stop using "upgrade!" An upgrade to me is like going from a 3DS to a bigger 3DSXL. Going from a smaller hard drive to a bigger hard drive. Using the words "new console" or "latest console that you can only play the latest games on" will clear any confusion with the casual audience.

I hate to agree with Pachter, but I think he's right when he says Wii U sales will top off around 30 million globally by the end of its life cycle. This week I have seen about 4-5 ads per hour for PS4 on major networks and about 2-3 for Xbox One. Anything for Wii U? No. How do they expect to sell consoles if they don't even advertise properly?

AdanVC

#42

AdanVC said:

It's cheesy and a little awkward to see, at least to me. But at least they are finally bringing the message of Wii U to a wider audience.

zeldagaymer93

#45

zeldagaymer93 said:

@SuperCharlie78 Yeah I thought that was very sneaky too. I feel like this is going to lead to a lot consumers being even more confused when they buy the special bundle and see that the game is nothing like what the commercial showed.

raith

#47

raith said:

I understand Nintendo is a gaming company that appeals to all audiences, particularly families. But they need to realize not all of their fanbase lives in the suburbs in a house with white-picket fences. The word "upgrade" was used numerous times and considering there are still masses of people out there that still think the Wii-U is just a peripheral for the Wii, that wasn't an effective ad.

element187

#48

element187 said:

@Superstick , @net34a advertising to core market is a serious waste of money. The core market is already aware of what games are out and which ones are coming. The core checks gaming news all the time.

Casuals on the other hand don't check games sites weekly, daily or hourly, those are the people that need to know it exists. Nintendo can target the core market by building hype with gameplay videos as the core will find these games by reading about gaming shows/conventions, YouTube lets play videos, reviews, articles, Nintendo Directs, etc.

Ninty is playing it smart with advertising by going in this direction.

hydeks

#50

hydeks said:

I seen that commercial alot lately, it's good there finally getting the name out there, and with christmas coming, that bundle is a real deal!

element187

#51

element187 said:

@Gso agreed. Also lol at the people who think it has to be one or the other. Nintendo is the largest video game publisher in the world, it has more than enough studios to make all sorts of types of games simultaneously.... They always have something for everybody.

Nintendo still concentrates the vast majority if their development budget to their core market. These games with Wii in it are either contracted out, or their smaller studios work on it. For the titles we like the most, Nintendo gives it their all and only uses their most talented teams depending on the significance and importance of the franchise.... For example, Nintendo only allows their very best and expensive teams handle 3D Zelda and 3D Mario, which is EAD Tokyo.

The belief that since Nintendo is releasing Wii U Party it means they won't release any core games is silly... It couldn't have been a team bigger than 15 to make that game, meanwhile they used a team over 100 developers to make Super Mario 3D World. I'm personally glad Ninty releases such a large variety of games. I picked up a used balance board last weekend and my wife and I are playing Wii Fit U together as a family everyday. If it wasn't for these casual titles I wouldn't be able to play any games with my wife. Like most casual gamers, She's too intimidated by the twin stick controller(I'm going to have to force her to play SM3DW with me)

tanookisuit

#53

tanookisuit said:

Hey took them a year but at least they got the point the Wii U needs actual advertising. I think there's a companion ad too just for the hardware, but his one does focus both on the game and then the system at the end too with the price. Hopefully Mario + price with real system awareness versus the cost of entry on the other two will help this this holiday.

unrandomsam

#54

unrandomsam said:

@Gso What games ? I don't see any that are targeted to hardcore players. Everything tries to be jack of all trades master of nothing or casual. (Shi'en is the only developer who consistently has a reasonable difficulty I am probably not hardcore as I find those games a good challenge).

DualWielding

#55

DualWielding said:

@element187

Nintendo is not the largest publisher, they have actually admitted they are lacking in manpower to deal with the demands of HD development which require more work... Nintendo need to expand and lack of variety in their first party output is part of their problem, since they can't fill by themselves all the gaps in the console lineup that are left by the lack of third party support

Captain_Gonru

#56

Captain_Gonru said:

@ferthepoet Not completely accurate. While they may not be bugging them for the console, they are definitely bugging them for the games. Since MSMB2, for instance, I'll have a parent come in, looking for a game their kid wants. Finding out it doesn't play on the kid's current DS, the 3DS gets explained, and frequently either bought on the spot, or at the next birthday/holiday. Same thing, though to a lesser degree, happened for the Wii U from about Lego City Undercover on. Frankly, if Skylanders had somehow skipped the Wii, the Wii U doomsaying would be gone.

JaxonH

#57

JaxonH said:

@net34a They have to do both. Core gamers aren't enough. Why you ask? Cause most core gamers are teenagers (I'm 29 and I'm now considered old school lol), and right now teenagers are lost to the "cool" appeal of Playstation. Doesn't matter how many great games it gets, or how powerful it is, it will never be enough.

Core gamers will only account for 10-20 million sales, max, and that's being more than generous. They can survive off that, but if they wanna stay a major player, they're gonna have to do better. And that means bringing new people into the fold, and that means convincing parents to buy a Wii U for their child this Christmas. This commercial is not necessarily aimed at "casuals". It's aimed at the decision-makers of the household, the parents, who are buying FOR their kids this Christmas.

Gerbwmu

#58

Gerbwmu said:

@JaxonH - I actually think you are giving too much credit to "core" gamers. Want to know how many "cores" are out there.....look at sales for console launches and 1st 6 months......means there are maybe 10 million tops....if none of them bought multiple which we know isn't the case. So that means they make up about 5% of the sales.....at 35 none of my friends have time for games anymore.....if they buy something its for the bonus of games.....IE a lot have PS3 because it was a BluRay player.

D3athBr1ng3r187

#59

D3athBr1ng3r187 said:

@Gerbwmu Yeah really same for me buying a Wii U which was collecting alot of dust like a vacuum and barley was played because of the LACK of titles "core gamers" and I like so sadly I rather pick the "Blu-Ray player" than the dust collector my system was until Nintendo get more games next year besides SM3DW.

Fillytase

#60

Fillytase said:

Is it just me, or is continuing to call the Wii U an "upgrade" and leaving it at that doing nothing to rectify the issue of many potential consumers who think the Wii U is a Wii add-on and not an all-new console?

DanMan82

#61

DanMan82 said:

Seemed decent to me. Reminds me of those commercials for kids trying to sell smart phones to their parents, even down to the cheesiness of it all (this one's probably cheesier though).

About the whole upgrade thing, if you think of it in the sense of, for example, "I'm going to upgrade from a PS3 to a PS4", then it makes sense. But I understand where you guys are coming from. Hopefully, this commercial gets decent airtime and can help get the word out.

Nico07

#62

Nico07 said:

@Gso Wii Pro Controller can be used with New Super Mario Bros U, New Super Luigi U,, Need for Speed Most Wanted U, Black Ops 2, Call of Duty Ghosts, Disney Infinity, Rayman Legends, Zombie U,, Tank Tank Tank, Resident Evil Revelations, Injustice, and Batman Arkham Origins, to name a few.

SomeBitTripFan

#65

SomeBitTripFan said:

I think Nintendo is in a lose-lose situation with the Wii U. This commercial is probably a step in the better direction, but even then, Nintendo has to compete with tablet/smartphones and PS4/X-One. The Wii U is trying to cater to two entirely different audiences and neither really cares anymore, as they feel alienated by the other side. I don't think the Wii U will be successful, but overall that could be a good thing. Nintendo needs its reality shaken if they are going to succeed. They've to firmly planted themselves in one position and it doesn't please either half of the gaming industry. Nintendo is in need of a rebirth. They're too big, to arrogant, too out of the loop. They're chasing after another market, when they already had one sitting in their laps.

Nomad

#66

Nomad said:

Nintendo could have had the No. 1 system this generation if they had focused more on the core gamer. If the had made the Wii U more like the PS4 and XBOX One, a competitive piece of hardware with a normal controller and a dedicated online gaming network, a more appropriate name (Wii 2) and launch games like SMB3DW and MarioKart 8, they could have pitched it as a hardcore gaming console with the added bonus of having Nintendo's 1st party games.
Think about it. What would Sony or Microsoft give to have Nintendo's games on their systems?
I understand that they want a bigger slice of the pie by selling to the casual gamer, but the biggest problem that they've had from the start is a lack of third party support. Many third party developers are waiting for Nintendo to sell more Wii U's and increase their installed base before pledging more support.
Even Nintendo has admitted that they need to grow their installed base to get better third party support. So what do they do? Advertise to the casual market. The same thing they did with the Wii. And what did we learn from that? That casual gamers don't buy third party games on Nintendo systems.
How then Nintendo do you expect to attract third parties by selling to a causal audience? Games sell systems, and like the Wii, third parties won't put their games on a system mainly bought by casuals.
By all means, sell to the casual market, but don't forget you need the core gamers to get third party support.

D3athBr1ng3r187

#67

D3athBr1ng3r187 said:

@Senario
1. Meh.......Got it but it's isn't my cup of tea sadly.
2. Who cares what you think about "core" games you play PC mostly.
3. Exactly.
4. Waste of "Profit" for now because of the dust that's collecting and multiplatform games which I have on other consoles.

elstif

#68

elstif said:

Wow a nice ad for the Wii U targeting families
Now you need another good one to target gamers and start showing both like theres no tomorrow

I still haven seen a single wii U ad on TV in Europe, good to see they are moving in the right direction in the US

Senario

#69

Senario said:

@D3athBr1ng3r187 First, don't complain that your win U is collecting dust due to no core games when there are core games and you simply do not want to play them. Second, don't dismiss other people simply because they own a gaming PC. Honestly, it is your own fault for your win u collecting dust since there are plenty of good games. And if you are so stubborn about trying them you might as well sell the system to somebody who does appreciate and like the games available.

AidenPearce

#70

AidenPearce said:

@net34a This is an ad for the parents, NOT the core gamer, the wii u itself is more core gamer focused than the wii was, ads like these sell systems and Nintendo needs sales, Mario kart 8 and smash bros aren't coming out until next year so Nintendo needs to substitute those system sellers with a family oriented ad

Gso

#71

Gso said:

@Nico07 Thanks. I don't own any of those games but it's good to know. I'm buying Rayman Legends soon though.

Traxx

#72

Traxx said:

How does the term "upgrading" make it clear Wii U isn't just a hardware expansion?

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