Nintendo's 2000 E3 Presence
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Holmes Report
CEO

Nintendo's 2000 E3 Presence

In a year when media would be strictly concerned with what’s new for the future, Nintendo would have to rely on its software and franchise building success. No small feat.

Paul Holmes

E3 is the world’s largest interactive entertainment industry annual trade in May each year.  An extremely important medium for video game companies, the “Big 3” always vie to be the show’s big hitter.  Even though in 1999, Nintendo made the announcement at E3 about the company’s plan for their next-generation platform, code-named Dolphin, Nintendo of America and thusly Golin/Harris was directed by Japan that no news on Nintendo’s GAMECUBE could be released this year.  In a year when media would be strictly concerned with what’s new for the future, Nintendo would have to rely on its software and franchise building success.  No small feat. 
 
CHALLENGE:                           
 
Golin/Harris knew this year’s E3 would be an unfavorable environment for Nintendo.  We determined the best way to soften the media slight, G/H informed our media contacts there would be no Nintendo GAMECUBE news while pre-pitching Nintendo’s current leadership position (at that time with Pokémon and Game Boy sales) and the 2000 line-up.  It became a huge challenge to convey to many media as they are easily swept away by the hype from our competitors; traditionally new hardware receives the bulk of coverage.  Many of Nintendo’s titles are not given justices by simply talking about them:  we need to show them to the media, which determined our tactics to garner at-show attention.
 
PLANNING PROCESS:     
 
Golin/Harris recommended the need of creating an overall theme communicating “Nintendo has something for everyone,” from Mature-rated Perfect Dark to Pokémon, Donkey Kong and Mario titles, the focus would be the breadth of talent behind Nintendo’s brand -- the creators, development team and exclusive franchise characters:
 
Objectives:
  • Ensure E3 mind share for Nintendo through visibility for Pokémon franchise, Game Boy/Game Boy Color success and new N64 software and hardware
  • Positively position Nintendo through sales stories, franchise success and broad developer support
  • Secure early enthusiasm and “buy-in” for upcoming titles among core media audiences
 
Target Audiences:
  • Key media attending E3 and select non-attending print, online and broadcast outlets
  • Broadcast/print/online consumer outlets; game enthusiast outlets; Gen X outlets; retail trade publications; entertainment-focused outlets; business-focused publications and news weeklies; youth outlets
  • Regional consumer media outlets in key ADI markets prior to E3
  • Los Angeles-based national and regional consumer media outlets
  • Analysts; retailers; affiliates
 
STRATEGIC APPROACH:
 
Build early “buzz” and anticipation for titles being showcased at E3; secure pre-show coverage
Ensure significant game play opportunities and interviews with Nintendo executives for key media pre-show and on-site, resulting in immediate or at-show coverage
 
In absence of Nintendo’s GAMECUBE and Game Boy Advance news, pre-empt or offset PlayStation II, Dreamcast and Microsoft news by focusing on Pokémon brand success, Game Boy milestones and N64 resurgence
 
CAMPAIGN EXECUTION:
 
PHASE I:  PRE-SHOW ACTIVITIES
A.  Pre-emptive Announcements (Audience: Print and broadcast media)
Strengthen Nintendo’s profile in the interactive entertainment industry with timely sales success announcements designed to diffuse competition’s show announcement: 1) N64 Color Casings sales success and new leading position in the hardware market; 2) Pokémon Stadium sales success; 3) Game Boy 100 millionth production and sales
B.  Teaser Branding Campaign (Audience: Top-tier target print/online/broadcast media and analysts)
Develop multi-tiered teasers to generate overall anticipation for Nintendo offerings at E3
B.  Teaser Campaign (Audience: Top-tier target print/online/broadcast media and analysts) Tier 1:  Mark Your Calendars – Create and distribute “Save the Date” message in form of May calendar highlighting NOA/ E3 activities
Tier 2:  Nintendo’s Line-up – Showcase Nintendo’s E3 line-up via unique metal shopping cart filled with giveaway items representing the key titles (e.g. Hairspray for Conker’s Bad Fur Day)
Tier 3:  Nintendo’s E3 Presence – Distribute media pitch letter highlighting featured titles at show, disclosing Nintendo’s booth activities and Nintendo’s events, e.g. media briefing, private game demos
11-Market Road to E3 Van Tour – Showcase Nintendo’s line-up of Pokémon titles along with other “E” rated games via scheduled media appointments in targeted markets, literally get “inside” the world of video games
 
PHASE II:  E3 ACTIVITIES
Targeted E3 Media Outreach
Pursue game enthusiast cover placements and feature stories re: highlighted titles in E3 issues
Feature titles priorities, specifically N64, in show-related B-roll/SMT packages
Secure pre-scheduled, on-site media interviews for NOA spokesperson and booth tours
Offer top tier media “exclusive” opportunities to conduct Rare, Left Field interviews
Post E3 press materials, event-specific detail and AP photos on Nintendo’s password protected site
Facilitate press materials distribution at show
Coordinate efforts with Nintendo of Europe
Executive Briefing Kit (Audience: NOA executives and corp. comm.)
Create executive briefing kit for E3 to provide NOA executives with succinct information on the show including interview schedules, key messages, press materials, Q&A and map of the show; focus key messages and Q&A documents on important Nintendo and industry messages including sales successes, violence in video games and Nintendo’s plan to combat PlayStation II, Microsoft’s X-Box and Dreamcast industry position
Media Briefing (Audience: Target E3 media, analysts)
Host annual media briefing prior to the show opening that highlights Nintendo’s strong line-up ensuring involvement from key Nintendo developers (Mr. Miyamoto, Mr. Tezuka, Stamper brothers, Mr. Ishihara) to enforce Nintendo’s E3 key messages (creators, development teams); distribute Save-the Date invitations
Develop press kit that communicates Nintendo’s dominance in franchise management (Pokémon and individual characters) as well as Nintendo’s breadth of industry experience and leadership via separate Pokémon, GBC and N64 sections
Private Game Demonstration (Audience: Key game enthusiast media, select analysts)
Communicate strength of Nintendo’s software and development teams by hosting a roundtable discussion with the legendary creator, Mr. Miyamoto with product demonstrations by Ken Lobb
Trade Meeting (Audience:  Retailers, affiliates and select analysts)
Coordinate with NOA to support annual trade meeting through speech writing and event concept development/implementation; distribute invitations to key analysts and media unable to attend media briefing
Nintendo Booth Activities (Audience:  National and local broadcast and print outlets)
Stage unique and visual activities to attract broadcast media attention immediately preceding show
Pokémon Press Conference – Host a press conference for kids (outside of the convention center prior to opening day) with Mr. Ishihara, a Pokémon Creator, to unveil five of the new Pokémon Gold and Silver characters; these five were the first of the next 100 characters to be introduced in fall 2000
Get Pissed with Conker Party – Host a “Mature Audience Only” party for key game enthusiast, Gen X and entertainment media and analysts on Thursday, May 12 at the Nintendo booth to feature Conker’s Bad Fur Day and provide appetizers and cocktails; distribute creative invitation using crumpled brown bag with hand-written crayon message, empty beer can and VHS game footage
Analyst Briefing (Audience:  Analysts)
Maximize NOA’s presence and communication with key analyst audience via separate briefing breakfast with NOA executives; schedule key appointments and coordinate interviews for P. Main and G. Harrison
 
RESULTS:
 
Taking into consideration the anticipated environment, Nintendo, through Golin/Harris’ strategic counsel, media outreach and special events reached its objective of ensuring mind share in this year’s coverage, and was not overlooked.  Nintendo’s strong line-up and history of franchise genius proved successful, resulting in more than 249 million consumer impressions including 786 broadcast stories, 242 print placements and 77 online articles.
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