Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wii Fit - A Brief Look at Nintendo's Marketing Strategy (Pt. Two)

In my last post, I talked in general about the way Nintendo has been marketing the Wii, and in particular, Wii Fit. Today, I'd like to touch on one particular piece of viral marketing that has been making the rounds across the tubes.

A couple weeks ago, this video (titled "Why every guy should buy their girlfriend Wii Fit"), which shows a young woman swinging her hips while playing the hula hoop minigame in Wii Fit, took YouTube by storm. It has since garnered more than 4 million hits.

And really, there's no surprise there. Put up a video of a girl gyrating in her underwear, and it's bound to get lots of views. This is the Internet, we're talking about.

The more surprising aspect is that despite the timing and success of the video (it appeared just after Wii Fit was launched), Nintendo had absolutely nothing to do with the video (or so they claim).
"A Nintendo spokesman said: 'This has and is absolutely 100 per cent nothing to do with Nintendo ... Nintendo did not create it and were not aware of it until it was brought it to our attention.'"

Instead, it appears as though the hit video was the brainchild of Giovanny Gutierrez and Laura Bernat, both of whom conveniently work in the advertising industry -- but absolutely not for Nintendo, they say.

And while they were not paid by Nintendo, they clearly knew what they were doing when they posted the video to YouTube. In an interview with Joystick Division, Gutierrez even refers to it as a "spec viral video", no doubt in hopes that it would get his viral marketing skills noticed by somebody at a real big-time marketing agency.

Still, there's no denying that whether Nintendo had a hand in or not, The Big N is the one laughing all the way to the bank. Gutierrez said:
"I can't tell you how many blog posts and comments I've read that this video convinced them to buy Wii Fit. If we've learned anything from this, it’s that viral YouTube marketing strategies are still extremely effective and powerful."

Definitely an excellent case study in how viral marketing can be effective. The only problem is, the company benefiting from the video had absolutely no say in its creation. Not that Nintendo cares, of course. In fact, unlike a lot of other big corporations (*cough*Viacom*cough*), they're letting the video stay on YouTube, where it will continue to promote their name and product -- and it cost them absolutely nothing.

While they probably wish they had thought of something as effective as this video, at the same time, if you can get your customers to do your advertising for you, why spend more money (not that Nintendo is hard up for cash these days, but that's not the point)?

So, as a marketing company, what are we to do? Should Marketing Breakthroughs showcase clients such as Preston Hardware with a video of bikini clad babes using their BBQs and power tools? Maybe not. But if this video teaches us anything, it's that the most successful viral marketing and web marketing campaigns need to be kept simple. Really simple.