Redmond, WA: Nintendo, looking to move out of its long-held third spot behind Sony and Microsoft in the console wars, launched the Nintendo Wii video game console on November 17 behind a marketing push that included major viral and grassroots PR initiatives.
Wiis were shipped to more than 25,000 stores, most of which do not have any left, said Perrin Kaplan, VP, marketing and corporate affairs, Nintendo of America.
Kaplan said the PR effort included the "usual heavy" media pitching, a viral ambassador program, and a social networking effort on MySpace.
"For the viral ambassador program, we selected non-gamers from a few new audience categories in eight different markets," Kaplan said, via e-mail. "We took the Wii to them and 30 of their chosen friends for an underground party/event."
She added that the grassroots and viral efforts will be key components to helping Nintendo sustain the momentum it had on the weekend of the launch.
"I think the groundswell will speak for itself," Kaplan said. "We will also continue to tell
our story and make the product available for people to try out in as many ways as possible."
Stephen Jones, EVP at GolinHarris and Nintendo account lead, added that these campaigns are intended to have legs beyond the launch.
"In many respects, these are going to be evergreens that will sustain interest in Wii by driving an ongoing dialogue about the system," Jones said.
One of the ways the company intends to do that is through "live-play-in demos" taking place in 25 malls throughout the country through the holiday season and into early next year.
Early indications showed that Nintendo's global gaming-for-the-masses-themed effort proved very fruitful. While information on number of units sold weren't yet available, "we did extremely well," Kaplan reported.