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Nintendo May Pull Wii Ads To Avoid Hype 168

Posted by Zonk
from the very-merry dept.
Due to the lack of product on store shelves and overwhelming demand, Nintendo is considering plans to pull marketing campaigns for the Wii during the holiday season. "The company recently dismissed suggestions that it intentionally engineered shortages to build up hype for the Wii. It claims to be producing 1.8 million of the consoles each month at full capacity. 'The issue of supply management has to be questioned, not least because 2008 is going to be the crunch year for the Wii. It's then that we'll discover whether it's a fad or something with legs,' Screen Digest analyst Piers Harding-Rolls told The Times."
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Nintendo May Pull Wii Ads To Avoid Hype

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  • oh good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:02PM (#21661133)
    Hopefully next year we'll find out if the iPod is just a fad or if it has legs too. How long does something have to be popular to officially not be called a fad?
    • Re:oh good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:05PM (#21661203)
      It's a "fad" so long as a minority group of people can act smug and self-righteous about not going with the flow :)
      • Re:oh good (Score:5, Funny)

        by stormguard2099 (1177733) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:48PM (#21661951)
        man, you just pissed off a lot of linux users...
        • by mqduck (232646)

          man, you just pissed off a lot of linux users...
          ...who are implied to believe that Windows is a fad?
      • Re:oh good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:57PM (#21662117) Homepage
        As opposed to the minority who act all smug and self-righteous because they have the latest cool gadget?
      • by sYkSh0n3 (722238)

        It's a "fad" so long as a minority group of people can act smug and self-righteous about not going with the flow :)


        woo hoo, so Windows is a just a fad! can't wait til that one blows over. Then in 2020, we can all look back, and laugh and say "remember when using Windows was all cool, and all those sheeple ran around using it like it was the greatest thing ever?"
        • by G Fab (1142219)
          I don't think many people think windows is cool or fashionable so much as they think they need it to run that cool laptop or program.

          MS had some bling factor when Win95 came out, but since then we sort of expect the hype and overlook it as marketing.
        • by p0tat03 (985078)
          Oh good :) Then Windows can into the back of my closet, along with my Pogs and my desire to use the word "rad" all the time :P
    • Re:oh good (Score:5, Funny)

      by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:06PM (#21661213) Journal
      Hopefully next year we'll find out if the iPod is just a fad or if it has legs too. How long does something have to be popular to officially not be called a fad?

      In other news, I hear that internet thing is going like gangbusters.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by pxuongl (758399)
        when it's so popular and ubiquitous the originating company loses their trademark.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_generic_and_genericized_trademarks
        • when it's so popular and ubiquitous the originating company loses their trademark.

          Which Nintendo will not allow to happen.

          Do you remember their "There's no such thing as 'a Nintendo'" ads from the late 1980s?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pluvius (734915)
      The Wii has only been out for a year. Considering the constant supply shortages, that's not been enough time for most of the people trying to get one to figure out if they really like it or if they were just hyped into getting it. Also, the MP3 player was already a proven concept by the time the iPod came out, while waggle wasn't.

      Rob
      • by edwdig (47888)
        I wouldn't say MP3 players were a proven concept when the iPod came out. They existed, but they weren't at all popular. Even among technology geeks they were a "that's cool, but not worth the money" kinda thing. Most MP3 players back then were similar to what you'd get now for $20, but cost ~$200.
        • by Oriumpor (446718)
          BS I had to wait 4 months in the late 90's for my Rio 500 which was ordered in December. The Rio was not hyped but the demand was there when all that was affordable was a 128mb Player with a crap memory expansion slot. The MP3 player was proven when it was created. Even though it only had a crap display, indexing only by numbers, and shuffle play, it was worlds better than a crap MD that cost 2x as much or a CD player that could only play a single cd at a time and was huge in comparison.
          • by edwdig (47888)
            BS I had to wait 4 months in the late 90's for my Rio 500 which was ordered in December.

            That simply means they didn't make enough of them. They could've made 100 of them and had demand for 200. Would mean a long wait to get one, but wouldn't mean there was much demand.

            A 128 MB player is going to hold maybe 2 CDs at 128 kbps. When they first came out, they cost several times what a high end portable CD player cost. That's a big difference. If you carry a bag with you to work or are a student with a backpack,
          • by Unoti (731964)

            ...late 90's... The Rio was not hyped ...

            I dunno about that. I was at a tradeshow in the late 90's at a time when the term "mp3 player" wasn't a household word yet. Rio was hyping their product, they had a cast of about a dozen teenage boys and girls wearing hipster clothing, standing on a little stage on their booth, holding the mp3 players and dancing around pretending to listen to them. In my book that counts as hyping, but then, everything was hyped in the late 90's. Perhaps it's just a matter of sca

        • by Pluvius (734915)
          I wouldn't say MP3 players were a proven concept when the iPod came out. They existed, but they weren't at all popular.

          Depends on what you mean by "popular." In terms of pure numbers, the iPod itself wasn't all that popular for nearly three years after the first one was released. In terms of sales expectations, however, MP3 players have been commercially successful since the first one was released in 1998. In fact, the second MP3 player, the Diamond Rio PMP300, was considered a smash hit and even spurred
          • by ArsonSmith (13997)
            ...smash hit and even spurred the RIAA into suing the company over piracy concerns.

            And we all know how difficult that is.
          • by edwdig (47888)
            Depends on what you mean by "popular." In terms of pure numbers, the iPod itself wasn't all that popular for nearly three years after the first one was released.

            Yup. I wouldn't say MP3 players were popular until well after the iPod was released.

            In terms of sales expectations, however, MP3 players have been commercially successful since the first one was released in 1998.

            Commercially successful does not necessarily mean something is popular. Just means they found a good market niche and hit it well.

            In fact,
      • Also, the MP3 player was already a proven concept by the time the iPod came out, while waggle wasn't.

        Actually the iPod and the Wii are very analogous in their conception and delivery. When the iPod was released there were other MP3 players and they were selling, but only to a tiny market. Most people used portable CD players instead, simply because the overall experience with MP3 players was not easy enough for the general populace. Apple did not really cut into the market of existing MP3 players, mostly owned by geeks, but opened up the market to the average Joe in the mainstream by making it easy enoug

        • by Pluvius (734915)
          The problem with the analogy is that we already know that everyone likes to listen to music, so it's hardly surprising that an MP3 player that was more accessible to the general consumer did well. We don't know that everyone likes to play video games, though. And considering the low attachment rate that the Wii has, it's still an open question.

          Rob
          • The problem with the analogy is that we already know that everyone likes to listen to music...

            Ahh but everyone doesn't like to listen to music, and more specifically, not everyone wants to invest money to have a large selection of music on a portable device.

            We don't know that everyone likes to play video games...

            To continue the analogy, we do know that a significant portion of the population likes to play games, the question is "will the Wii be easy and fun enough to gain market share among people who normally play bridge or cribbage or hide and seek or racquetball?" Based on sales numbers, it seems that yes it is.

            And considering the low attachment rate that the Wii has, it's still an open question.

            The "attachment rate" of games

    • Hopefully next year we'll find out if the iPod is just a fad or if it has legs too.

      Well, nowadays I hear it does have wireless. And substantially more space than a Nomad. I'd say now it's definitely not a fad.

    • Hopefully next year we'll find out if the iPod is just a fad or if it has legs too. How long does something have to be popular to officially not be called a fad?

      The iPod is a fad. People buy it more for its asthetic instead of functional reasons (or because they are fans of Macs). But let's be honest, it is just an MP3 player, and honestly, one of poor quality besides (admittedly, I gave up on them when an early one failed on me.) A fad can last a few years, but in ten years all the kids will be amazed

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:07PM (#21661229)
    I heard Nintendo was going to shut down production altogether just to save themselves from the massive demand and large amounts of cash that would be thrown at them.

    Talk about fates worse than death!
  • I don't blame them (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eharvill (991859)
    Why waste advertising money on something that is flying off the shelves? Once once sales start slowing down they can redouble their advertising efforts and get the "hype" machine moving again.
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      Just corporate BS that I would have suspected a company like Nintendo to follow... there's an advertising department, they'd probably already signed some huge contract with an agency, so the money's gotta get spent.

      Otherwise, I agree completely.
    • by Millennium (2451) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:27PM (#21661579) Homepage
      Since Nintendo is pulling its hardware ads, why not put some proper marketing on its games? Seriously; the only Nintendo game I've even seen a magazine ad for in over a year was Fire Emblem, and I only saw that one in comic books. If Nintendo wants to reach casual gamers, then it needs to start promoting its ads in places casual gamers go, and hardcore-gaming venues just don't fit that description. Word of mouth alone won't make a million seller.
      • You haven't seen all the Brain Age ads on TV? (Starts with a guy forgetting his high school buddy's name.) Or that new vision-focus-whatever one? True, those are DS, not Wii, but Nintendo *is* marketing some of its games to casual gamers.
      • Word of mouth alone won't make a million seller.
        Seems to have worked out pretty well for Wii Sports.
        • by Raenex (947668)
          You mean the game that comes with the system??
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by orclevegam (940336)
            Yes, it was one of the strong selling points of the Wii. A good deal of the casual gamer market was sold on the Wii after someone showed them Wii sports. Something a lot of people have missed is that a good chunk of the people that have gone out and bought a Wii weren't going "Oooooh Wii!" they were going "Oooooh Wii Sports!". Even if no other game but Wii Sports had been released for the Wii, it still would have sold a few units even though most people would consider the price too steep for a single game.
            • by Raenex (947668)
              I agree word of mouth and Wii Sports was a strong selling point, but Wii Sports was also advertised in the Wii commercials (http://youtube.com/watch?v=IEnc_l-jAO0 [youtube.com]), and it did come with the system. So you can't just point to Wii Sports as a generic model to sell millions of games on word of mouth alone.
              • Cool commercials, I had never seen them before. Then again, I don't watch much TV. I'll concede that word of mouth alone may not make a game or system a top seller, but it definitely wouldn't hurt. I also wasn't trying to claim that Wii Sports was a "generic model" to selling millions of games, but rather an example where word of mouth had a major impact on sales. I would be very interested to see very fine grained sales figures for games, as I would bet there's a discernible jump or decline in sales of a g
                • by Raenex (947668)

                  Cool commercials, I had never seen them before.
                  If you haven't seen it yet, the PS3 commercial [youtube.com] that came out at the same time is an interesting contrast :)
      • The problem is that most of Nintendo's games aren't really for casual gamers. Fire Emblem is NOT a casual gamer game. It's a hard-core turn-based strategy game. (Granted, the Wii installment is relatively tame on the difficulty-meter compared to some of the earlier ones.) Metroid Prime 3 is awesome beyond all hell... if you're a hardcore gamer. Twilight Princess is a masterpiece... for people looking for 40+ hour action-intense adventure games.

        The Wii has a lot of potential for casual gamers, but the c
        • * Rayman Raving Rabids
          * Rayman Raving Rabids 2
          * Mario and Sonic at the Games
          * Super Mario Galaxy
          * "Any game purchasable through the console"
          * Wario Ware
          • Keep in mind that part of the Wii's lasting appeal are the social channels that are available, completely free.

            It's with timekillers like Everbdoy Votes and Check Mii Out that the Wii appeals to the non-gamers of the family. It doesn't feel like a game when you're taking a silly survey and guessing what everyone else is going to pick, or watching a parade of virtual models (some of which are pretty clever).

            Having the news, weather, even the whole World Wide Web available with just a click from the couch is
      • It is likely that their sales figures are already high enough that they don't expect the money they get from ad-driven sales would exceed the cost of the ads.
      • by Trogre (513942)
        Because if they did that, then a horrible truth might be discovered:

        The Wii has no games.

    • by Fex303 (557896) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @06:18PM (#21664365)

      Why waste advertising money on something that is flying off the shelves? Once once sales start slowing down they can redouble their advertising efforts and get the "hype" machine moving again.
      Disclaimer: I work in advertising. (You can save yourselves the Bill Hicks quote, I know it.) I would suggest that the main reason to keep advertising when your product is doing well is to make sure that the 'hype machine' keeps moving. Hype/word-of-mouth/top-of-mind awareness/coolness is very difficult to get and even harder to keep. By the time you realize that people don't think you're awesome (which happens before sales slow), it's too late - you've been overtaken and someone else has taken the momentum in the eyes of the public. Now, I would argue that Nintendo could afford to shift their spending somewhat, or possibly change the message that they're getting across, since they seem have managed to get the message that they are fun for everyone into the public perception extremely well. But cutting spending too much when a product is going well is a common mistake that leads to strong brands falling into irrelevance quite swiftly.
  • Makes sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Snowgen (586732) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:09PM (#21661283) Homepage

    I don't know if it's so much about avoiding hype as it's good business sense. The primary purpose of advertising is to generate demand for your product. If the demand exceeds the supply, then why pay for more demand?

    I often wonder what would happen if Coca Cola would say "We're not going to advertise for one month". Would people really stop drinking Coke? How much money would they save?

    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      I don't know if it's so much about avoiding hype as it's good business sense. The primary purpose of advertising is to generate demand for your product. If the demand exceeds the supply, then why pay for more demand?

      Well yeah, that's obvious. Also, if they advertise the heck out of the wii, and people go to try to buy one and can't, they're likely to be pissed. Especially when they learn that Nintendo knew they'd probably be unable to get one, but convinced them to go buy one anyway. Turning someone who
      • The alternative theory, that Nintendo is artificially limiting supply to create "hype"
        The correct terminology for this is "to pull a Sony"
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EggyToast (858951) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:35PM (#21661713) Homepage
      I agree with you, except that Coke is a beverage; their advertising isn't to get people to buy a singular item, but to get people to think "Hey, a Coke, I should drink one."

      I see lots of billboards around bus stops with, say, 3 empty cans of coke that say "3 hour meeting" or something witty. Their advertising is trying to get people to drink more of their product. Arguably, those people are already coke drinkers -- they just don't drink enough for Coca-Cola.

      People only buy one Wii, though, and if everyone is buying all they can make, they don't need to advertise. Coke, though, there's always coke on the shelf, so there's always more to sell.
      • by SirSlud (67381)
        Just to expand on that a little. As you point out, everyone knows Coke exists and has probably tried one, so touting competitive advantages Coke has against competing products is marketing dollars not so well spent. So they engage in branding. That is the goal of imprinting some sort of emotional association on somebody, usually targeted towards a particular scenario.

        For instance, the "3 Hour Meeting" ad is an attempt to create an associating between the work place and ones enjoyment of a Coke. The goal of
      • There are two types of advertising. Advertising to get you to buy a specific product, and advertising for a brand.

        The types of ads you are talking about here (and 99% of all soda ads) are advertising for the brand. The goal of the ad is not to get you to run out and buy a coke now, or even to encourage you to buy Coke for your next 3 hour meeting. It is to implant more and more of the idea that "Coke is good" in your subconscious.

        Building a brand is about getting a larger chunk of the pie from the huge swat
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tdelaney (458893)
      As far as I'm aware, Coca Cola only advertises 6 months in any year in any market, for precisely this reason. Of course, I have no source to back this up - it's something I read or heard somewhere, and could be complete bullshit.
    • I've wondered the same thing. The only danger I can see is if Pepsi gets wind of the break, and does a mega-blitz of its own right then. But even so, I know people who are pretty hardcore for one or the other already (thanks in part, I'm sure, to marketing), plus campuses and restaurants with exclusive contracts, so they'd never lose all their sales.
      • by cowscows (103644)
        It's a good example of a system that can be analyzed as a "tragedy of the commons." Basically, somewhere along the line, one company started advertising to get ahead of its competitors. So all the competitors started advertising as well. At the end of the day, the advertising benefits balances out across the industry to nothing, except that each company is spending extra money to maintain that status quo. Kind of silly when you think about it, but it's great for people in the advertising business I guess.
        • by Jerf (17166)
          There's no "tragedy of the commons" unless you can identify a common resource that there is no penalty for exploiting, causing overconsumption unto destruction. (You might be able to argue the resource is "people's attention", but that's a stretch and the pattern doesn't really follow; that's not really a common.)

          This is an "arms race", not a "tragedy of the commons". Everybody has to beat everybody else, with all advantages transient, and there is no final "masterstroke" that you can win with, once and for
      • by pokerdad (1124121)

        I've wondered the same thing. The only danger I can see is if Pepsi gets wind of the break, and does a mega-blitz of its own right then.

        If you accept the premise that everyone knows what Coke is, and will buy it or not buy it regardless of advertising, then a marketing blitz from Pepsi would be irrelevant.

  • 1.8milions (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bibz (849958) <seb2004NO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:10PM (#21661287)
    1.8 milions a wii a month is a lot. It's 41 wii per minute, but still not enough for everyone.

    An other interesting number from TFA:
    "The Wii has outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 each by more than two-to-one this year."
    • by marcop (205587)
      Check out this site: http://nexgenwars.com/ [nexgenwars.com]

      They say the numbers are estimate, but close. Any one have a better source? It's pretty incredible that Nintendo has shipped more units compared to Microsoft in half the time.
  • Uh... old? (Score:5, Informative)

    by orclevegam (940336) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:11PM (#21661315) Journal
    Last I saw The Register was running an article that said Nintendo had already pulled the ads.
    The Register Article [reghardware.co.uk]
    • Perhaps, but Target is still running ads that show people having fun playing the Wii constantly.

      Nintendo pulling their ads only solves part of the hype problem. All the resellers that are hyping it also contribute to the problem and I don't see any of them pulling their ads.
  • The real article (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    eurogamer reports from gamesindustry who reports from The Times.

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article3018315.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
  • The writers at Eurogamer were found to have neither Journalism or Business degrees, and were thereby incapable of understanding business, marketing, or how to ask a really good question of the Nintendo PR flacks on why they might do this...

    More at 11:57:32.1pm...

    Bill
  • Bad for Nintendo, bad for consumers, and good for intrepid jackasses.

    To Nintendo: Produce more Wiis.
    To Consumers: Pay Retail.
    To jackasses: Die a fiery death.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      You must have a cloning machine that Nintendo can use to "produce more Wiis", because I am pretty sure they are trying their best without blowing away their income on new factories.
      • by Oriumpor (446718)
        They've been at capacity for a while, and perhaps more factories is a good idea, they're certainly not meeting demand.
        • by Oriumpor (446718)
          What might shoot every flipper in the head, as far as profits go, would be for nintendo to advertise the MSRP of the console in their ads. People would stop paying $600 USD on ebay for something sold for $250.
    • Re:Flipping Wii's (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EMeta (860558) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @04:45PM (#21662999)
      EBay Wii resellers are just an inevitable part of the economics of capitalism. If this was a commodity, the price would rise instantly as demand started to approach supply. Here, Demand far exceeds supply, so the MSRP is an artificial price ceiling. If I was in the market for a Wii and didn't have the time to search for one, I would appreciate that there was service charge I could opt to pay for someone else to find one for me. In other words, why the hostility towards the trade?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by AK Marc (707885)
        If I was in the market for a Wii and didn't have the time to search for one, I would appreciate that there was service charge I could opt to pay for someone else to find one for me. In other words, why the hostility towards the trade?

        Do you know how scalpers work? They buy tickets, all the tickets to an event. "Fair price" in the free market is the price that maximizes profit with infinite supply. That is, if there were an infinite number of tickets to see the Super Bowl, what price for all tickets wou
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by AvitarX (172628)
          Do you really think a significant part of the 1,000,000 units/month (30,000/day) are being resold through the secondary market?

          A quick glance has 90,000 on ebay in the last 3 weeks (we'll call it 125,000/month) 900 are listed on amazon, and I don't know where else to check.

          These 20% or so that are in the reseller market are getting placed, just later than if they were sold in stores, so shouldn't be keeping supply so much more constricted than naturally.

          There is a chance that people are sitting on thousands
          • by Oriumpor (446718)
            Or for a closer analogy:
            3. buy up 20% of the seats and hold them till the last minute for one of the last shows that that band will have on that tour...
      • by Chris Burke (6130)
        Demand far exceeds supply, so the MSRP is an artificial price ceiling.

        In other words, why the hostility towards the trade?


        Because if they didn't buy the Wiis for the sole purpose of re-selling them at a higher price, that'd be one more Wii available to someone who actually wants one at MSRP! The Wii-flippers are in part why there's a shortage and you can only buy Wiis from the flippers!

        Duh!
      • by Oriumpor (446718)
        For the reason people like my mother in law are too daft to realize they're being reamed for something that will be much *MUCH* cheaper later. When I told her the retail price of the product she spent $600 dollars on she didn't believe it, when I sent her to Target's link (sold out of course) she was incensed it was sold for so much.

        It's the same reason scalpers are derided. They charge a premium because they're sitting on something that was prevented from going in a consumers hands. If the scalper doesn
      • The thing I really want to know about all the Wii flippers is just how many will be declaring the profits on their tax returns. I'm guessing it'll be round about... none of them.

  • Advertising... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Tuesday December 11, 2007 @03:55PM (#21662079) Journal
    Does anyone else feel that this press release is an advertisement in disguise, in and of itself? "Our product is so popular that we're actually going to cut back advertising because we probably don't have enough and if you aren't one of the people contributing to the problem, then you are clearly the minority and are not 'with it.' Please desire a Wii for Christmas, now that we have informed you of how popular they are in an advertisement masquerading as a press release that claims we are cutting back advertisements for the product."
  • It's actually a nice gesture on N's part because with less ads, fewer kids will demand it and then (here's hoping) the ebay black market will cool off a bit.
    • It's actually a nice gesture on N's part because with less ads, fewer kids will demand it and then (here's hoping) the ebay black market will cool off a bit.


      No..... they don't want to spend money advertising a product that everybody already wants. I mean.... if you can't produce enough to keep up with demand, additional advertising is profoundly unnecessary until production catches up with demand.
  • Topless Wii....

    http://snipurl.com/1v3lf [snipurl.com]

    It's not safe for work, unless you work in a topless bar...

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