Nintendo has created a variety of video game ad campaigns over time, some more memorable than others. Looking back on it all, some of these invoke very good memories, so join me as I reminisce a bit…
Rather than focus on specific ads or commercials (though I'll do that quite a bit), I wanted to focus on the broader ad campaigns Nintendo has presented over the years, all of them having the intent of manifesting Nintendo's image and their personality onto the public as to why they should care and buy their games.
This one emphasized the new touch screen feature as the selling point, mixed with a little bit of innuendo for good measure.
Who Are You?
Systems: GameCube, Game Boy Advance
I was most familiar with this ad campaign through the print ads, such as:
But the "Who are you" commercials were also pretty decent, like this Metroid Prime 2 one:
I liked these ads, they reminded me that one of the big reasons we play video games is to immerse yourself in these imaginative worlds and take on the role of your hero through your actions.
System: Game Boy Advance
This campaign resulted in an awesome commercial for Golden Sun. And though the video is titled 'Culture Advanced,' at the end of the video you'll see the more general tag line "Life Advanced."
The Game Boy Advance was a major step up from the previous generation of Nintendo handhelds, and Nintendo wanted the world to know how powerful this portable really was (without a back-light though! for shame…).
Take a Look Inside
There's nothing extraordinary about this one, it's basically an emphasis on seeing 3D graphics on the handheld. But these ads do a great job of getting the message across, displaying the cool features of 3DS in a non-cheesy 'hey, it's 3D!' kind of way.
Change the System
System: Nintendo 64
What I like about this slogan is that it works at two levels at its core: 1) Change the video game system you own. 2) The N64 changes the system in the sense that its cutting edge technology was supposed to change the way we perceive video games as a whole. And I have to agree that with a launch title like Super Mario 64, Nintendo was changing our notions of what video games were about.
Wow, I got this promo video before the N64 launch. My hype was through the roof!
Why Go to the Next Level when you can go Light Years Beyond
System: Super Nintendo
This was not really a broad campaign as it was tied specifically to one game: Star Fox (SNES). However, this campaign really was a strike back against Sega's technological advancements and a direct attack on their famous slogan "Welcome to the next level." The Super FX chip was Nintendo's promise that they weren't going to introduce new hardware when they already had something powerful enough with the SNES. Instead of forcing the consumer to upgrade their system with add-ons (Sega started this trend with the Sega CD), Nintendo would instead incorporate new technological advances with the Super FX Chip.
Play it Loud!
System: Super Nintendo
I noticed this ad campaign go into full force around the time Donkey Kong Country was being previewed as a game that would take the SNES to new technological levels. Nintendo was attempting to tap into the punk/ skateboarder style and appeal to the main gaming demographic of teenagers, and for the most part I think this campaign tied in wonderfully to the games at the time: Mortal Kombat II being the definitive version, as it was both technically superior and demonstrated (finally) the end of Nintendo's censorship of games (like the infamous replacement of blood with 'sweat' in the previous MK). And as big fan of video game music, this campaign struck a chord with me as well because I always knew that when I played Nintendo games, I wanted the sound to be turned up, WAY up. The SNES had an amazing sound design, not just with the quality of musical instruments but also sound effects, especially the ambiance of Super Metroid. Play it Loud indeed.
Get N or Get Out
System: Nintendo 64
This one is very straightforward, and I appreciate getting directly to the point. You're either 'in' with the Nintendo crowd, or you're 'out.'
The Best Play Here
System: Super Nintendo
I always liked this one. Nintendo was painting a picture where Nintendo gamers could be considered 'top of the class.' Nintendo fans knew there was something special about the quality of Nintendo games, so obviously messages like this one help foster the sense that these games were the best out there, across all platforms. This ad campaign was definitely a sign of the heated console wars. I was proud to be on the Nintendo side of the fence!
Now You're Playing with Power
System: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
As a kid, I loved this advertising. Nintendo greatly favored the word 'power' (hence the name of the magazine we all know and love), and of course being amazed by NES games, you had to imagine "wow, there's a lot of power in this box!" Nintendo followed this basic ad campaign through the Game Boy era (Now you're playing with portable power) and then with the SNES (Now you're playing with super power), although that last one doesn't exactly roll off the tip of your tongue as nicely (it's probably why Nintendo had various other campaigns during the SNES era, also on this list).
The only campaign ads listed that I am familiar with are the Now You're Playing with Power (which is also my top choice), Who Are You?, Get N or Get Out, and Play it Loud! campaign ads. I didn't like the latter at all. I think the graffiti style perturbed me a child. However, I did like the Get N or Get Out ad campaign quite a bit, as well as all of the commercials from the Life Advanced campaign. However, after the Now You're Playing with Power (and then the later Super addition), the Who Are You? ad campaign is my favorite. Mainly because of this one, glorious ad:
However, the one from the Life Advanced campaign that made it my third favorite, is too good not to share:
I loved that Metroid Prime 2 commercial. I have it saved in my favorites on YouTube. I also loved the Star Fox commercial way back in the day. It was a great way to get back at my SEGA loving friends. I was hoping the "Now You're Playing with Power" campaign was number 1 on your list. It would be number one on mine too. I wish Nintendo would find a way of bringing it back.
I have to say, though, I really hate the Play it Loud campaign. I just hated the graffiti art style of the ads and commercials. I'll have to look at my YouTube favorites in order to add my favorite commercials. I'll get back to you on that one.
Hhmm, a revival of the Now You're Playing with Power campaign. You know, that could work in a strange way; it would hit our generation's nostalgia bone for sure. However, I guess it made more sense before when one of the biggest selling points was how powerful the hardware was. With Wii U, I would guess Nintendo would, rightly so, emphasize its unique features (in addition to its HD graphics).
I guess many of us agree, Now You're Playing with Power was one of Nintendo's finest moments in their advertising history.
Yes, that Who Are You? ad did indeed air in the U.S., though not the one I linked to - the shorter version aired. I believe it to have even been featured in theaters, as well. The ad is pure genius, and really resonated with me as a consumer and Nintendo fan(atic). I even searched for the song to download!
Oh, and if we're good to post favorite commercials that aren't necessarily part of a specific campaign, then I have to share my all time favorite Nintendo commercial (that I've probably posted before). Which, oddly enough, isn't all that nostalgic for me - which is normally the omnipresent force in my decision making.
The Metroid Prime commercial is perhaps my all time most watched Nintendo ad ever. Such an amazing, amazing ad. Sure it was campy at times, but still, nothing I've yet seen from The Big N has topped it in raw awe. Fantastic visuals, great narration, and phenomenal music, this ad beats all in my book:
Ah. My faves have been posted. MP and Mario 3 quickly come to mind. But Mario 3 was ridiculous, and spoke how Nintendo and Mario ruled the world. I always wish for another Mario game to have a very similar commercial. That'd be the tits.
I can understand where you are coming from. However, I found the "evil" bit to reference an overall feeling than anything specific. I think it is just that the word immediately preceded an overly dramatic critter blasting scene. Having Samus perform a leaping somersault to blast these pint sized creatures was kind of silly, and I would say that a more menacing foe would have made more since with respect to the "evil" term and the dramatical shooting.