Nintendo begins search for agency

- Nintendo is searching for a UK agency to help the computer games company mount a serious challenge to Sony Playstation with its powerful new N64 console.

- Nintendo is searching for a UK agency to help the computer games company mount a serious challenge to Sony Playstation with its powerful new N64 console.

Its much-vaunted N64 was finally launched in February 1997 after a series of delays, using advertising by Leo Burnett in London. However, even after the launch, sales were hampered by product shortages, and the N64 has not achieved the same success as the Playstation, which was backed by an advertising spend of around £9 million last year through TBWA Simons Palmer.

THE Games, the UK distributor of Nintendo, has now begun approaching a number of agencies over the last two weeks about pitching for its £8 million business. Nintendo's advertising moved from Leo Burnett last August, citing differences over future creative direction, and during the crucial pre-Christmas period, Nintendo imported ads from Leo Burnett in the US.

Expenditure on Nintendo ran around £7 million over the Christmas period, with most cash devoted to promoting three new games: Lylat Wars, GoldenEye 007 and Diddy Kong Racing. A multi-game ad also ran to demonstrate the hardware.

Leo Burnett took over Nintendo's advertising in May 1996 in preparation for the UK launch of its N64 games console. Its first creative work was for the Gameboy, and attracted complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority because of its depiction of a woman tied to a bed.

Austin West Media won the planning and buying for Nintendo last September, at which time Nintendo insisted it was not looking for a new creative agency. Media is not included in the current review.

Nintendo was once a major force in the industry alongside Sega, but the dupoply was shaken up when Sony launched its PlayStation console in 1995.



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