Monday, May 5, 2008

Does the Picture on the Box Matter?

I'm a big fan of what Nintendo is doing. I think their focus on Innovation and Fun is right on the mark. So, I rarely make any effort to note where they are missing the mark, but with WiiFit mania soon to come upon in the US, I can't help but think Nintendo has made a mistake.

The box on the right is what WiiFit looks like in Europe and Japan. I love it. It says so many things without cluttering up the box. The sense of exercise is quite strong, with a focus on silhouettes.

This box is the US Box. I think it is a disaster.


The box says toy.

I think a lot of the success that Nintendo has had in the US, which of the 3 regions appears to be where it has the most success, has been due to the Wii being purchased by many groups of people. This box tries to capitalize on that by putting many groups of people on the box. There is a problem with doing that. By putting everyone on the box, you for sure put something on the box that makes someone feel like they don't relate.

In this case I think the box makes the Wii less mainstream and more kid. It feels more like boardgame boxes from 10 years ago that had the family all around the game smiling. There is nothing wrong with that image, but it does preselect a specific group. In this case, it selects against people who want to pull the game out with their older friends. A group of all 40 year or 20 year olds doesn't want to pull out a board game at their party where on the box half of the people are kids. By putting faces to the box you've started selecting groups, which makes some people feel less inclined to be involved.

The Japan box doesn't have these issues b/c it skipped them entirely. The US box is likely to make Mom just a little more likely to refer to the Wii as a kid's toy...which is exactly the opposite of the message that Nintendo has been successfully conveying for the last 18 months.
I'm sure the US will still sell many copies of WiiFit, but I worry that if this approach continues, that the Wii will become a kid's toy in the US, which will ultimately keep it from reaching the marketshare it could otherwise reach.

The recent ads for Mario Kart Wii, only serve to make me more concerned that Nintendo of America may have lost its way when it comes to marketing their very popular console.

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