Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Not In Defence of Traditional Advertising

Don't get me wrong, I think the calls that TV is dead are completely and utterly rubbish made up by people with headlines to generate and space to sell. But I did read a comment this week that I felt needed putting right.

It started with a comment in Edge that (summised) said "Sony and Microsoft have gone after being cool and infiltrating under the surface, yet the Nintendo Wii has been amazingly successful using traditional ads."

Well not really, the ads have simply helped bolster success that happened for two very good reasons. And it is these things that are entirely responsible for the Wii being where it is now.

1. R&D that truly considered the audience, not just what to sell. A controller shaped like a remote so non-gamers would be encouraged to pick it up. Small design to stop mums disliking it being in the living room, backwards compatibility so mums could get rid of the kid's Gamecube and reduce clutter.

Nintendo went against ALL convential product wisdom with Wii. They didn't increase the graphical power, they scrapped standard controls, and gave it a name that invoked months of ridicule.

2. The brilliant R&D meant people wanted to try it, people who owned it wanted to show it off. Which brings to absolutely the success story:

Word of mouth.

I know for an absolute fact that at least 3 people bought a Wii because they tried mine. Times this by thousands of early buyers, and then keep that chain going. Everyone I know who bought a Wii in the first year spent months constantly introducing people to it.

Great R&D x Customer Insight x Effective Communication with Core Customers = Phenomenal Word of Mouth Success

The ads worked because effectively they were videos showing what this crazy machine could do. Identical to the promo materal Nintendo used to show everyone could enjoy the Wii. But you could have had a media budget of practically zero and the machine would still be market leader; and if that isn't reason enough to improve your R&D...


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shib said...

Good post, innovation and insight will always make a product sell. Get the product right and the rest will follow...

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Thanks Shib, absolutely. The good comparison is that the previous Nintendo console suffered because of R&D that had some great ideas, but didn't fully consider the audience. The Sega Saturn failed because R&D went for 2d power when 3d was just becoming viable. PS3 is behind 360 because R&D were forced to use Blu Ray, putting up the price; and because (just like PS1 and PS2) they designed a machine that was bloody powerful, but really hard to get the power from.