News Article

Weirdness: Mario, Luigi, and Sonic Are Advertising A Chinese Mobile Phone Network

Posted by Alex Olney

Honest truth, guv

There's something just a little bit wrong in China Mobile's advertising, pictured above. Apparently Mario, Luigi and Sonic have all been conscripted into the firm's latest promotion.

Nintendo hasn't exactly made a habit of freely giving out its characters for other companies to use, being so protective as to initiate YouTube claims in some cases and to keep close control over licensing. It seems strange that Nintendo would lend its intellectual property to a mobile phone company, of all things, given its negative stance towards releasing games for the ever-increasing smartphone and tablet market.

China does not currently have any Wii U plans on the horizon — Nintendo has stated it's exploring alternative hardware for the country — but Chinese fans are able to buy a version of the 3DS within its borders under the iQue brand; it's a name Nintendo has used in the region since the release of a plug-and-play N64 system, so the company is not wholly devoid of a presence within the nation.

Despite the alarm bells that are ringing when the China Mobile promotional art tickles your retinas, the firm has reassured curious individuals that it has all the appropriate rights to use the characters' images to promote its new 4G plan.

The network provider is host to almost 800 million individuals, so Mario's mug plastered on marketing towards such an audience is arguably welcome for the plumber and his brother, though doesn't necessarily point consumers towards Nintendo's iQue products.

Do you believe the company's claims? Is this simply a cheeky and unofficial use of the moustachioed mascots? Do feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Thanks to Ryan Millar for the tip.


From the web

User Comments (27)



Undead_terror said:

At least I can rest peacefully knowing that horrible abominations that look like Mario/Luigi/Sonic are advertising the thing....



TheWPCTraveler said:

They included Mario, Luigi and Sonic in there because of one simple reason: They're great at making getaways.

Sonic has transcended the concept of "fast." And we all know what Mario and Luigi can do!



ToastyYogurt said:

Yeah, I don't believe them. Not only is it bizarre for Nintendo to license its characters to something that would have nothing to do with games or Ninty-themed merchandise, but China seems to have a habit of using IPs that don't belong to them to make and promote products.



TwilightAngel said:

Wow how long will it take for nintendo to take them down, with their lawyer's? Cause oh my god they just took random pictures and stick them on the wall, with their product.



Hero-of-WiiU said:

Sue! Well, if it ever came to that, at least it would be much more logical than most lawsuits.

Edit: Not to mention, those pictures are ridiculous! Is Luigi really about to head that incoming soccer ball?! And why is Mario riding Yoshi?



ajcismo said:

Nintendo is probably letting it happen to grease the wheels with the Chinese gov to get their new region-specific console approved faster.



Prizm said:

It's funny how almost any chinese packaging screams COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Just look at that Nintendo Seal on the boxart they found for the article.



DashDG said:

@Prizm thats the original iQue released by Nintendo over China, no piracy copyright infringement with that one



SneakyStyle said:

Something really needs to be done about that place... They are already trashing all our online games with bots and hackers, now they pull this kinda crap.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

That's China for you: companies with no respect, laws with no copyright protection, anda government which knows no shame. The only ones I'm feeling bad for is the population, since they have to put up with all that by proxy (get it?).



Pod said:

ChinaMobile is owned by the Chinese government. Even if they did not have the appropriate rights, there'd be very little Nintendo could do about it.

IP rights are a fickle thing in China anyway, so they may even be telling the truth, that they do have the "appropriate" rights, being no rights in a country with almost no legislation.



Spooky said:

@Prizm That is a genuine product believe it or not, the seal of quality is the same for all NTSC regions. PAL have the round shape instead



Inkling said:

Well this could be the key to ruling China's games market. Loads of people would know the faces, and might buy the system! Or even better, as I've said many times before, a Nintendo Phone! In China it would only be on China Mobile...

Whaddya think?



ChessboardMan said:

Hey NL, the Kotaku Article has an update. From Nintendo. Might want to include that info, even if we had all guessed it already.



Prizm said:

@Spooky said "the seal of quality is the same for all NTSC regions. PAL have the round shape instead"
I have never seen a seal like that iQue one. The NTSC seal states "Official NINTENDO Seal of Quality", and the PAL ones have always stated "Original NINTENDO Seal of Quality".



Spooky said:

There are fair few variations including a 'Licensed product' seal which is almost identical. I used to work for Nintendo a few years back doing technical support among other things so have seen a fair few knock-off Nintendo items in my day



unrandomsam said:

@Dogpigfish America invented piracy. Benjamin Franklin ripping off stuff like Charles Dickens that was the first time. (Or at least certainly with any sort of scale). All that is happening is China is doing exactly the same as what the US did.



B3ND3R said:

If you search "Kirby Jump" on the iPhone App Store there are three knock off Kirby games.. I know it's random but I can't believe people are getting away with it. Using the name and sprites from the kirby games is pretty lazy to begin with, but to sell it for $0.99 on the App Store is pretty criminal.

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