When I was growing up, Nintendo’s colorful cast of characters were synonymous with video games because many gamers of my generation were introduced to video games through Nintendo devices. Nowadays, however, fewer and fewer children are getting introduced to video games through Nintendo devices thanks to the accessibility of mobile games becoming a parent’s best friend in recent years. Of course, Nintendo knows this and they are turning to some interesting alternatives to fight that trend.
The first step in fighting that trend involves the storied publisher’s first smartphone app set to release next month, but it doesn’t end there. The company wants its characters on household items like electric toothbrushes to keep its intellectual properties in front of a wider audience. Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima explained in a question-and-answer session with investor that one of his goals is to expand its licensing deal with other products in an effort to raise the profile of characters like Mario and Princess Peach among consumers.
“Due to changes in our industry, the proportion of young consumers who are first experiencing games on our systems has been falling,” said Kimishima. “We want to have everyone become familiar with our [properties] by reaching as many people as possible from an early age within their daily lives.”
Nintendo has seen the power of its Amiibo toys and it realizes that those deals are not just about generating extra revenue. Physical goods are an easy way for a consumer, specifically young kids, to see Mario and Bowser every day and develop an emotional attachment like we did when we were playing SNES every day after school. This could help them build a strong connection that could lead them into people who buy and play Nintendo’s core products. So while Nintendo characters are already on T-shirts, backpacks, and the aforementioned toothbrushes — and this contributes to the $8.3 million in revenue the company made over the last nine months from its non-gaming businesses — it is thinking about ways to do even more of that. Like toothbrushes.
“In America, many children are using electric toothbrushes featuring Mario characters to brush their teeth every day,” Kimishima explained. “We have also worked with a shoe company to launch shoes that feature the designs of Nintendo game systems. As you know, we are also working on a theme park featuring Nintendo [properties]. Our policy and the focus of our current activities is to create more chances for our consumers to experience the charm of Nintendo [properties], not just on our dedicated video game systems, but outside of game software as well.”
If you doubt this strategy, simply look at Disney. Nintendo wants to integrate into its consumers’ lives between game purchases in the exact same way.
“Our long-term strategy is to spark our consumers’ interest in playing Nintendo game systems and encouraging continued growth of our games business,” said Kimishima.
What do you think about Nintendo’s new marketing strategy to cultivate brand-loyalty in children that may not know their characters as well as we do? Let us know in the comments below.