After several delays, much bemoaning over stock shortfalls and a
significant degree of hype, Nintendo’s N64 video gaming console finally
launches in the UK market this week. But the relaunch of the Nintendo
brand is likely to face problems, despite extra units being made
The Japanese company is investing over pounds 6m in its UK marketing
campaign for the console, which will include a heavyweight ad campaign
created by Leo Burnett running from March 1 until the end of May.
Nintendo was once a major force in the industry alongside Sega, but the
duopoly was shaken up when Sony launched its PlayStation console in
Since then, Nintendo’s position has declined as Sega and Sony were left
to fight it out.
With the N64 it has the opportunity to reaffirm its computer games
credentials and rebuild brand awareness among consumers.
The teaser campaign for N64 has already started, with page ads in the
style magazines using the line ’Believe the hype’. For the campaign
proper this will be replaced by ’Get into it’.
Despite an official UK launch of March 1, the 20,000 consoles designated
for the first wave have all been ordered well in advance.
However, Alex Fitzgibbons, communications manager for Nintendo’s
distributor, THE Games, said increased production at Nintendo’s Japanese
production plant means the UK will now be allocated 130,000 units for
the launch period - 40,000 more than originally expected.
’None of our retailers are happy. We have not had the stock to give them
what they want,’ said Fitzgibbons. But he said the advertising is as
much about planting the seed for later in the year, when stocks should
The TV campaign will break on February 28 with three 40-second ads each
focusing on one of three games available at launch: Super Mario 64,
Pilot Wings 64 and Star Wars - Shadow of the Empire. The launch of Wave
Race has been delayed until April.
N64 will retail at pounds 249 - pounds 50 more than PlayStation and
Saturn, both of which boast 200 games titles to N64’s three, with prices
starting at around pounds 20 compared with a price of pounds 50 for
Pilot Wings 64.