Wii Fit was something of a gamble, a new product that moved Nintendo away from core young-male gamers, who might be turned off by the fact that Mom and girls think the Wii Fit is cool.
Another challenge was Nintendo's marketing and advertising process at that time was very siloed: Each department would reach out and brief their own agencies of record, resulting in multiple different concepts and different visions rather than a cohesive, integrated campaign.
The Action and Planning
My main task was to create the final touch point where adveristing and marketing drove awareness and education about WiiFit.com. I worked closely with Nintendo's marketing and product stakeholders, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Fantasy Interactive, project managers, and my internal design team to come up with a plan to insure the campaign was fully integrated and cohesive through visual, copy, and tone right from the start.
My handy work below...
The expereince more than exceeded the main goals of driving awareness, information, education, and where to buy the game. The rich, engaging experience was well received and the site was awarded an FWA award. Nintendo had created a memorable experience that still holds up today's creative standards. With Wii Fit, a whole new generation and expanded audience of consumers now engages in the Nintendo world.
I Play for Me
The video game world is normally male-dominated. The goal and challenge was to entice women ages 17 to 35 to play with Nintendo’s dual-screen handheld game console. I did ad hoc behavior research in bars, parks, grocery stores, sidewalks, asking questions of any poor female who was between 17 and 35 who would let me. It was clearly going to be a challenge to shift behavior and thinking to get most women to play such a device or even be seen with one. During my interviews, most women's repsonse was, "Can I shop with it?" or "Can I email my mom?" Hand-held gaming was not top of mind for that demographic. Another concern was that playing a video game made you look like a lonely cat lady. (Sorry Liv Tyler, that first commercial with you playing alone wasn't changing any behavior, but you looked great.)
Nintendo's main strategy was largely focused on the Blue Ocean theory, which is all about expending the audience that would not normally engage with your brand. Think of Americans and Russians during the arms race: Whoever builds the best missile (or gaming platform) wins.
Meanwhile, I'm beating my head against a wall and clamoring to a friend that "No normal woman wants to play a hand-held video game!" She, very pleased with herself, holds up a copy of The Female Brain, a 2006 book by the American neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine.
The main insight that I came away with from the book was that men value their self-esteem by their independence and thus like playing video games alone in competitive situations. Women, on the other hand, value their self-esteem by their social connections and like being with others, so it made sense to change the strategy and commercials to reflect that the DS was a social game you could play with your friends.
The Action and Planning
Working closely with the marketing team, I launched a slick new website based on Nintendo’s new DS ad campaign, which featured celebrities America Ferrera, Carrie Underwood and Liv Tyler looking very much like people having fun with DS. I pushed the site further with an e-commerce functionality, which was a new approach for Nintendo, since most of their microsites only functioned as awareness and promotional sites leading the user where to buy. I drafted up the UX experience (shown below) and quickly got sign-off from the stakeholders to start designing following the guidelines of the ad campaign. The end-to-end execution all happened extraordinarily fast, in less than one month.
The pick-up-and-play nature of the handheld fits well with busy people. Oh, and yes, women like to play games too! So much that the campaign was a huge success in driving not only awareness, behavior and thinking that it's ok to play hand-held games, but drove direct game sales from a campaign site, which at the time was never done before.
DS games sale increased that year over 200%
Professor Layton and the Curious Village
CREATIVE DIRECTION • EXPERIENCE STRATEGY • VISUAL DESIGN • UX/UI • DIGITAL MEDIA