Who Are You?
The “Who Are You” campaign was a pretty major campaign for Nintendo. It started at the height of the lifecycle, right when things were starting to look grim for the company. Before we talk milestones, let’s talk about the look of the commercials. Again, the atmosphere is mostly dreary and using the theme of videogames in real life. But this time around, much of the transformation between videogame and reality is on people becoming the characters or taking on the roles of the characters in the game. The magazine ads for Who Are You used characters taped to pictures, much like those pretend fantasies of taping your face to someone like Leonardo DiCaprio.
For some games, this ad campaign worked very well. Take for instance Metroid Prime 2 up there. Admittedly, it’s no Metroid Prime 1 ad, but it’s still well done and exemplifies the sort of immersion that is prevalent in the Metroid games (especially for the Prime series). The Who Are You campaign lasted for a while. Not too sure how long, but it lasted long enough to have two Mario Party commercials. Speaking of which, things were starting to brighten up again near the tail end of the Who Are You campaign before going out quietly.
Who Are You sparked two milestones for Nintendo. One was the that this was the first time both the console and the handheld shared the same ad campaign since Play It Loud. I’d like to hold off on talking about how the GBA handled the Who Are You campaign, but let’s just say that things were done differently than how it was done for the Gamecube.
Another milestone was that Square had utilized the Who Are You campaign for both Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and Final Fantasy I & II Dawn of Souls. Speaking just about FF:CC, this is the first game with the Final Fantasy name in it on a Nintendo console since Final Fantasy III (VI) on the SNES. This also marks the first time ever that Square would use Nintendo’s ad campaign as opposed to doing their own thing like before. But with all these milestones and a somewhat high-budget for these commercials, it didn’t save Nintendo from ending at #3 for this generation. The Who Are You campaign ended quietly (but commercials still used the surface popping logo for the end). For the next console, they needed to do something different. They were reaching out to a new, untapped market. The tactics they employed for us were not going to cut it. To do that, it was time to change the system again and send two Japanese guys to our houses, telling us “Wii Would Like To Play.”