CAMPAIGN: Product Launch - Nintendo targets a new generation

Client: Nintendo of America (Seattle, WA)

PR Team: Golin/Harris (Seattle/Los Angeles)

Campaign: Nintendo Cube Clubs

Time Frame: August - November 2001

Budget: Part of ongoing service

The good news for Nintendo heading into the November launch of its new

GameCube system was that over the past 16 years, the company had built a

brand synonymous with family-friendly entertainment. But that identity

can be a double-edged sword when you try expanding your appeal beyond

younger children. Nintendo's task was made more difficult by the fact

that Microsoft was simultaneously launching its own game system, the

Xbox, and targeting many of the same consumers. So Nintendo turned to

Golin/Harris, its long-standing PR agency, to give the GameCube a cool,

trendy feel among older teens and 20-somethings.


Golin/Harris senior VP Tina Vennegaard says that to reach a teen and

young adult audience, the agency had to broaden its media outreach to

include entertainment and other lifestyle magazines. "We always target

Gen X, but we made an increased effort to target Gen Y and the younger

teen, and the 'tween' demographic," she explains. "We realized that most

kids in that demographic don't read the outlets that most of us grew up


But the other key to achieving this new cachet was to link Nintendo and

GameCube to the young celebrities most revered by their target


That entailed courting and winning over the entertainment media. "Those

outlets only started paying attention to video games as a form of

entertainment a few years ago," says Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo's VP of

corporate affairs.

"Now they get it. We rival the movie industry."


For the kickoff Los Angeles party on October 3, Golin/ Harris reached

out to the entertainment and celebrity press several weeks in advance

with phone calls, media kits, and, of course, the promise of stars. At

the same time, the agency courted the traditional gaming and business

press with media kits and demonstration days to give them a hands-on

taste of the new system.

The LA party was a success even by Hollywood's high standards. The

timing, three weeks after the September 11 attacks, yet before the

actual bombing of Afghanistan, proved fortuitous in attracting both the

press and the stars. The Cube Club premiere attracted some of the

leading young lights in Hollywood, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey

Maguire, Vin Deisel, *N Sync's Joey Fatone, Kirsten Dunst, Shannon

Elizabeth, Wayne Brady, Marlon and Shawn Wayans, and Mandy Moore.


The Cube Club premiere generated coverage in US magazine, People, The

Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, E! News Daily, Women's

Wear Daily, CNBC Market Watch, E! Online, and even the dating game show

Blind Date. In addition, Access Hollywood, Movieline, Premiere, Teen,

Entertainment Tonight, Flaunt, Angeleno, MTV, BrandWeek, and Detour all

had photographers lining the red carpet into the club.

Nintendo and Golin/Harris continued the Cube Club tour in cities across

the US, generating huge lines of teenagers and coverage in urban papers

such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The tour culminated November

17-18 in New York with an event co-hosted by MTV that featured a Cube

descending into Times Square to herald the formal launch of the



Vennegaard says that Golin/ Harris, which will celebrate its 10th year

with Nintendo of America in 2002, is "moving away from working with

Nintendo just to generate news about its products, and focus more on

what sets Nintendo apart as a company, and what the brand means."

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