Wii Sports Resort Launch
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Wii Sports Resort Launch

Holmes Report

Program Description:


Nintendo’s Wii Sports Resort game was one of the highlights and headline-makers of the 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The title marked the next chapter in the Wii Sports phenomenon and features the intuitive Wii MotionPlus accessory, which enhances accuracy for the game’s motion control functionalities.


Games journalists enjoyed a demo version of Wii Sports Resort on the showroom floor and had positive impressions of the title, a credit to its fun game play and accessible control scheme. However, media momentum for the game slowed over the course of the next year due to a lack of  updates.


To generate renewed interest in the game, the team developed a comprehensive strategy that included targeted news announcements, high-profile demonstrations, hands-on game-play opportunities for media and consumers and a massive launch event in New York’s famed Times Square.




In the months leading up to the July, 26, 2009 launch, Nintendo tasked GolinHarris (GH) and other agencies with re-igniting media momentum and building anticipation and excitement for Wii Sports Resort among cross-demographic consumers. GH knew it had to take the game – which was announced more than a year earlier – and establish it as one of the biggest releases of the year.




Research showed that excitement ran high among critics, media and consumers alike in response to the game’s debut, as it was poised to be the next chapter of “gaming for the masses” – a phenomenon introduced by its popular predecessor, Wii Sports.  The 2008 announcement itself generated more than 220 stories in its distribution week alone. However, media momentum and anticipation for Wii Sports Resort’s launch began to dwindle due to a lack of updates in 2009.


In addition, research revealed that “staycations” – where families take vacations at home to save money – were on the rise. GH also capitalized on this trend by focusing on Wii Sports Resort as a fun and economical “vacation” for families to enjoy from their own living rooms.


Strategic Approach:         


To allow media and consumers to experience  the next evolution of “gaming for the masses” and propel Wii Sports Resort to the apex of the video game industry, the team employed the following strategies:


  • Provide interesting and memorable hands-on opportunities for media and consumers alike in order to educate them about the fun, interactive experience of Wii Sports Resort

·        Develop unique, interactive tactics across multiple media platforms to draw attention from diverse audiences and cut through the clutter of competitive summer launches and activities

·        Position Wii Sports Resort as offering unprecedented interactivity and engaging content, including the new features and functions that set it apart from being just a sequel to Wii Sports

·        Leverage timely industry events and the “staycation” trend to reach and educate media and consumers



Campaign Execution:


The team employed a three-step strategic approach to the campaign:


  • Taking Back Center Stage

The team began rebuilding buzz at the 2009 E3 Expo by having Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime demo the game during the Nintendo media briefing. GH used media tours to generate additional dialogue with key outlets and produce seminal stories. To build additional awareness for the game, GH worked with Nintendo to coordinate a creative mailing in the form of “boarding passes” for a virtual vacation, leis and copies of the game. GH further enticed video-game editors by pitting them against each other in a decathlon comprising game activities. The team also worked extensively with key outlets (e.g., Good Morning America, The New York Times, USA Today, etc.) to produce timely feature stories


  • All Eyes on Wii Sports Resort

The campaign’s centerpiece was a launch event that brought the game’s “Wuhu Island” to life. GH worked with Nintendo and its other agency partners to transform New York City’s Times Square into an urban oasis for a day, complete with game kiosks nestled in 50 tons of sand, a pool, lounge chairs, fruity drinks and more.  The visual spectacle attracted thousands of participants and was featured on Good Morning America through a live remote broadcast


  • Keeping the Momentum

Coverage continued through a Wii Sports Resort mobile tour and by leveraging significant product sales updates




To date, the Wii Sports Resort launch campaign has been a hit with media and consumers. The campaign’s creative ideas and synergized efforts have produced more than 1.6 billion media impressions. The launch event – which was attended by more than 3,500 participants, including 60 top-tier media outlets such as Good Morning America, GoodHousekeeping.com, WSJ Digital Network, SELF, Joystiq.com, Ebony, TeenVogue.com and MTVU.com. The event led to nearly 300 million impressions alone, far outstripping 2008’s launch of Wii Fit (previously Nintendo’s biggest launch event at more than 137 million impressions).


The Wii Sports Resort launch campaign effectively re-ignited consumer and media interest in the game and established the game as a whole new experience for the Nintendo brand, instead of as a mere sequel to its popular predecessor. The team’s strategic plan propelled the game beyond being one of the biggest video games of 2009 to being one of the most prominent releases in the Nintendo’s history. As Good Morning America succinctly put it, “[Wii Sports Resort] is the hot new thing…this is what everyone wants.”



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