Wii U Ad

It's a common refrain for critics of Nintendo to state that it doesn't do marketing well. Some may see adverts featuring celebrities or colourful trailers of smiling children and despair, as there's often a sense that in targeting families and young gamers with much of its advertising the company has given up on the market that feeds Microsoft and Sony. That may be so, but Nintendo's marketing — allied to products that seized the day — contributed towards the company dominating the past generation in both the portable and home console space.

Of course, the 3DS is flourishing — while it may not match the momentum and sales of the DS family, we'd suggest that no dedicated gaming handheld is likely to in the near future, not without a lot changes in the market. In the face of smartphones, tablets and Sony's Vita, the 3DS is doing an impressive job of holding its own and establishing its relevance in the marketplace.

The portable had a rough start, and we often cite it as an example of why any obituaries for the Wii U are very premature. Naturally there's huge pressure on the system, however, and its lineup is expected to deliver the beginnings of a turnaround. It's there to be debated whether it's a collection of games this year to drive major sales — though Nintendo's efforts with bundles and promotions also leverage games already on the market — but there are question marks over whether these initiatives are getting enough airtime and exposure.

Wii Fit U Luge

Nintendo may have a bombardment of media and marketing lined up, but if so we'd question whether it's a little later than desired. What we do feel, within the team at present, is that the Wii U messaging hasn't been prominent or particularly visible; we're referring to advertising and brand exposure on the web, television and radio, as well as on the High Street and in retail stores. If you didn't browse Nintendo-specific websites, how much would you know about the Wii U? Would you know about the initial trial version of Wii Fit U, or the imminent arrival of the first two Wii Sports Club releases?

It's been debated ad nauseum about the Wii U name and distinguishing it from Wii, but as that won't change we should consider whether Nintendo's doing enough to tell the world about its system, the deals on offer and games on the way or already available. For example with Wii Party U we'd expect a substantial marketing campaign. Yet aside from videos posted to YouTube channels it's had, in the experience of some Nintendo Life staffers, a borderline anonymous launch; some retailers only appeared to have one copy in the UK, while it failed to chart in the all-format top 40 for the country.

Yet 3DS advertising is prominent. In the UK we've seen TV adverts for the portable, with heavy exposure for Pokémon X & Y and seasonal messaging for Animal Crossing: New Leaf, along with 3DS bundles and the 2DS, in particular. In addition it seems that the situation is similar in North America and elsewhere in Europe, with much commentary about the presence of the 3DS in mainstream advertising and, in comparison, the absence of the Wii U. The 3DS is doing well, however, so is Nintendo backing the winning horse unnecessarily at the expense of its struggling home console? Looking forward, will Nintendo secure sufficient airtime for TV commercials such as this one for Super Mario 3D World?

We want to know your experiences and opinions on this; perhaps they don't match the impressions outlined above. Below are some polls to gauge how effective, or otherwise, the Wii U advertising is from your perspective, while naturally we'd love to read your views in the comments below.

Do you feel there's been enough Wii U marketing compared to 3DS? (582 votes)

  1. Yes, I've seen plenty of Wii U adverts and promotions, as much as for 3DS2%
  2. In part, the Wii U messaging hasn't matched that for 3DS but has been decent5%
  3. I'm not sure3%
  4. Not quite, and the Wii U needs more exposure and promotion22%
  5. Absolutely not, the 3DS has been prominent and the Wii U barely visible48%
  6. Neither has had enough adverts or marketing presence, actually20%
  7. None of the above1%

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What have you thought of Nintendo's advertising and marketing for Wii U in the past two months? (537 votes)

  1. It's been excellent, I think the message is getting out there1%
  2. Not bad, it could be better but it's been decent overall7%
  3. I don't have an opinion on it, really5%
  4. A little disappointing, I expect to see much more31%
  5. What messaging would that be? Very poor, in my opinion55%
  6. None of the above1%

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What do you think the main message should be to promote Wii U? (544 votes)

  1. Games, games and more games33%
  2. Emphasize the value available with bundles, compared to One and PS410%
  3. Target families with Mario, Wii Fit U, Wii Sports Club and Wii Party U10%
  4. Focus on the GamePad and why it's different12%
  5. Play up the "Wii HD" angle above all else3%
  6. Blow the budget with multiple campaigns looking at different angles31%
  7. None of the above2%

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