One of the biggest complaints from the gaming community that has continuously been brought up for over four years now is that Nintendo’s advertising stinks. Many considered the company’s efforts to get the Wii U out in the public eye to be rather poor; and interestingly enough, Nintendo itself has even admitted this. With that said, it seems like the Big N has taken these past mistakes into careful consideration, and as a result, all the stops are now being pulled out for the incoming Switch.
Looking back at the system’s reveal trailer, I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo pretty much started off on the right foot. The trailer offered no commentary or fancy CGI renders; it purely focused on the concept behind the system: a home console you take anywhere. That message is clear and easy to understand — quite a contrast to that of the Wii U, which left many confused as to exactly what it was. Not only is the concept more refined this time around, but Nintendo is making sure that people get the message almost instantly.
All of the commercials that have been released since have been centered around the Switch’s unique concept, and they all have done a great job at communicating it. They each show off the system being used in all sorts of different scenarios, thus putting emphasis on its versatility. Seeing how busy many people’s lives are, these commercials do a good job at showing how the fun doesn’t have to stop just because you’re not home. No doubt, the consumer base will latch onto this message and may very well be inclined to make a purchase. This is definitely what Nintendo is expecting to happen.
Not only have each of the commercials done a good job at communicating the Switch’s concept, but their design is also quite an improvement from Nintendo’s past work. One trope that has been attached to Nintendo’s marketing tactics is that they almost always feature a group of kids or an overly-excited family. That’s no longer the case with the Switch’s ads. A number of folks noticed that the aforementioned reveal trailer only had young adult actors — a surprising move from Nintendo. This trend has continued with each ad since, with only one of them using kids for a few brief moments. Nintendo hasn’t just made the message clearer, it’s trying to take on the same demographic as its competitors.
None of the Switch commercials are as raunchy as the usual PlayStation or Xbox commercial, but the change in actors shows that Nintendo is primarily trying to attract a much broader audience than before. A lot of the scenes show the system being used in environments like parties, apartments, and even a college classroom; places where you’d expect to see a 20-something adult. While the overall tone of the commercials still fall in-line with the ‘family friendly’ aspect we’ve come to expect from Nintendo, it’s done in a way that doesn’t make it seem overly-clean or cheesy like before. For example, take a look the new Nintendo Switch Super Bowl commercial.
This commercial gets straight to the point, but what really stands out is the song selection. The first Switch trailer used a great song by the band White Denim, but the Super Bowl ad happens to use a much ‘edgier’ track (for lack of a better term). A new song from Imagine Dragons was picked this time around. Why is this important? Well, Imagine Dragons is one of most popular bands of the modern age, but on top of that the tone of the song is more akin to that of what you’d expect to hear in a PS4 or Xbox One commercial. This is another sign of Nintendo trying to appease the young adult crowd, albeit still in a way that fits its cleaner image. In addition to the great design of the Super Bowl commercial, let’s also focus on the fact that there even is a commercial for the Super Bowl! This is one of the biggest events on TV each year, attracting well over 100 million viewers on average. Considering the fact that quite a number of folks watch it just for the commercials, Nintendo picked the perfect place to advertise its new system. The thing is, getting a spot during the big game is not easy, nor cheap for that matter. Companies have to pay about $5 million just to get a slot for their 30-second video. That’s quite the investment! Even if the Switch ad does manage to get outshined by the other commercials, that’s still a massive audience that would at the very least been introduced to the new system.
Outside of the great commercials, the Switch is also being advertised in a lot of high-traffic public areas. This is yet another example of Nintendo being serious about getting the word out there. And remember, this is all happening before the system is even released! If Nintendo is pushing this hard prior to launch, just imagine how it’s going to be once the system is finally out in the wild? No doubt, the sub-par response to the Wii U has given Nintendo the boost it needed to really change the way it handles PR. Not only has this led to the creation of a more refined system, but the marketing efforts are truly amazing to the least. The Switch has been designed to be a system that can be enjoyed by basically anyone, and Nintendo is making sure that the world understands that. Let’s hope these strong efforts pay off!