Nintendo Ad Campaigns Retrospective

Gamecube Era

The Cube Campaign

Like Change The System, this was also a campaign mostly used during the launch period of the Gamecube. I’m not quite sure what this campaign is called, but I just call it “The Cube Campaign.” The basic formula is that there is large cube somewhere and someone is looking at the action happening inside it from the outside. They become so enthralled by the events occurring that they somehow end up inside the cube with each corner playing scenes from the game being advertised.

The tone of the commercials were rather dark, with the people portrayed as bored, lonely, or ugly; Like a commentary on the boring, brooding world we live in becoming more tolerable with these cubes appearing. The music here was either some abstract composition like the Luigi’s Mansion commercial, or bleeding with the heavy riffs of hard rock like the Wave Race Blue Storm commercial. LucasArts utilized the Cube Campaign for their Rogue Leader game, being the only third party to use it for a specific game. For the tail end of the ad campaign, Nintendo tapped into another popular rock performer, Andrew W.K., and used his song “She is Beautiful” for one of their Cube Campaign ads, where you can see that a few more third parties pitched in their games. But that’s as far the companies would go. LucasArts they were not.

And because I posted the Super Smash Bros. ad from Get N or Get Out, I might as well show you the Cube Campaign ad too. A stark contrast to the zany nature of the N64 commercial. I would like to direct your attention again to the mood of this man’s environment. Again it looks rather oppressive and plodding, with the only bright spot being the fight between two samurai in the cube. The man looks uninterested, but at the same time still looks onward until his eventual assimilation into the compact world of the cube.

And so, after getting people accustomed to the Gamecube, the campaign came to a loud but quiet end with the Andrew W.K. commercial. Nintendo wanted to show the world that they were not the company that made kiddy games. They were serious and they wanted to show not just gamers, but third parties as well that their console was just as much for the older demographic as the PS2 was. It didn’t help though that their next commercial was really out of place for the image Nintendo created for themselves. It was back to business as usual for Nintendo, creating zany commercials. Like the identity crisis Nintendo seemed to have after the Cube Campaign, they turned to the public and asked, “Who Are You?”

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