Did Nintendo Punk Us with Wii?
I spoke with branding company Igor International yesterday about Nintendo’s choice of Wii as the new name for their next-gen console.
During the interview Steve Manning became convinced that Nintendo had deliberately picked a bad name for the console and that it was, in fact, fake. Manning thinks that Nintendo is creating an enormous viral campaign by releasing a fake name and then coming back during E3 and announcing the real one.
It looks like he’s not the only one who thinks this. Site Snark Hunting is also convinced, here’s why:
Crazy? Here is the first clue, “By letting the gaming community vent now about the name, they will be less distracted as launch titles for the system are announced and initial reports about what it’s like to play the games begin to come in.” Allowing your audience time to vent is not SOP in a name announcement, and also telegraphs that Nintendo knows what a stinker this name would be.
Second, it’s not possible to engineer a worse name for this product.
Third, and this is a big one, there are no trademarks registered by Nintendo nor by any dummy corp in the U.S or over there for Wii. This is unprecedented for Nintendo and it is not possible that his is an oversight. If Wii were the name, they would have registered it. In fact, no new trademarks have been registered by Nintendo at all. This leads us to conclude that Nintendo has in fact registered the real name under a dummy corp, which is SOP when trying to keep a name a secret prior to launch.
I’ve asked Nintendo reps straight out if this was the case, several times, and they deny it through and through. They also say they don’t know why the name isn’t yet trademarked.
Manning is now calling this the “most savvy name announcement we have seen in many years.”
We think Nintendo is setting you all up to be Punk’d at E3, generating a massive amount of positive buzz when the scam and the real new name are announced.
Given that their video game audience is the same demographic as Punk’d, the whole campaign is perversely elegant. Except of course for failing to make the illusion complete by registering a TM for Wii.
Personally, I think this would run too many risks and could far too easily backfire for Nintendo to attempt it. I’m thinking Nintendo just thinks the shock is going to create an instant and lasting impression.
Update: This just in from Nintendo on the subject of the missing Wii trademark: “Nintendo has filed many trademark applications for Wii. Trademark Web sites often take time to update, and you can expect the Wii trademarks to appear shortly.”
Nintendo Wii Brilliant [Snark Hunting]
It's an interesting observation to say the least - I belive Perrin Kaplan had told IGN in one of their "Nintendo Minute" articles that Nintendo was planning on using a viral marketing campaign just prior to this years E3. So, perhaps it's not to out there to think the Wii name is not the final name. I would caution you though, just because someone has found evidence to indicate a sly move on Nintendo's part doesn't absolutely rule out the Wii is not the system's name.