Wii are Japanese, if You Please
December 22, 2006 8:14 PM   Subscribe

Is the Wii marketing campaign the first game console campaign to make such a big deal about its Japanese heritage? (In the U.S., anyway.)

I have noticed that nearly all of the Wii TV commercials feature Japanese gentlemen delivering the Wii, or somehow involved. And of course the "ii" in Wii bows in apparent Japanese style. I don't recall any other console taking this approach. Do any of you?
posted by The Deej to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I believe it is a first for a game console, although now that I think of it the voice that said "PlayStation" at the end of all the ads for the original PS(one) games always sounded like a Japanese girl to me.

However, other people I've talked to don't see the Wii commercials as playing up the Japanese angle.
posted by jjg at 8:38 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised you see it that way. My reaction, on seeing the online ads (website and videos) was that it looked like a very whitebread Old Navy commercial. I don't think the Wii is being pitched as more or less Japanese than any other console before.

Be honest, you just posted this question so you could make the joke in the title, right?
posted by knave at 8:54 PM on December 22, 2006


In defense of The Deej, my reaction was the same as his -- I was surprised at what seemed like an overt emphasis on the product's Japanese origin.
posted by jjg at 8:58 PM on December 22, 2006


I don't think the Wii is being pitched as more or less Japanese than any other console before.

Aren't we talking about the commercials where two Japanese guys in suits bring a Wii to a standard American family? They seem pretty Japanese to me.
posted by smackfu at 9:31 PM on December 22, 2006


Be honest, you just posted this question so you could make the joke in the title, right?

Honest answer: no. I thought of it after and was damn proud of it! My life is so sad that I must get my pride from such trivial things.

Aren't we talking about the commercials where two Japanese guys in suits bring a Wii to a standard American family? They seem pretty Japanese to me.

Exactly. The U.S. television ads.
posted by The Deej at 10:27 PM on December 22, 2006


Not to hijack, but does anyone know the artist/title of the eastern-influenced techno song in the commercials?
posted by cebailey at 10:43 PM on December 22, 2006


"...the voice that said "PlayStation" at the end of all the ads for the original PS(one) games always sounded like a Japanese girl to me."

My thoughts exactly.
posted by hooves at 10:51 PM on December 22, 2006


The shamisen music is by the Yoshida Brothers. As far as what's up with the Japanese dudes, I suspect that the older of the two is actually Shigeru Miyamoto, but I can't for the life of me uncover a cast list for any of the Wii commercials. It could be more of a "this product is so important that I, the father of videogaming, want to show it to you in person" thing. Just a guess though.
posted by azuresunday at 10:52 PM on December 22, 2006


not really. introducing exotic elements is an old advertising technique. look at chris cunningham's playstation commercial. sure, she has a british (irish?) accent but the sensibility is definitely japanese. it's meant to confuse.

"...the voice that said "PlayStation" at the end of all the ads for the original PS(one) games always sounded like a Japanese girl to me."

ha. it's actually a caucasian girl who goes by the name sarah. works for chiat/day, the ad agency, in playa del rey. her whisper was supposed to be a placeholder.
posted by krautland at 11:50 PM on December 22, 2006


You don't know true Japanese videogame advertising until you've seen this ad for Rez. (may be slightly NSFW)
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 2:28 AM on December 23, 2006


I agree with above commenters that the image they're going for is less Japanese and more cute-chic, a la iPod. Of course, Japanese-ness is inevitably going to be a part of that image.

If I remember correctly, when the Neo Geo was first released in the US, many of the advertisements for it were bilingual, giving it a distinct flair of otherness, especially compared to the very whitebread Sega Genesis. Anyone else remember this?

I'd also put games like Dance Dance Revolution in the category of Games That Are Cool Because They're From Japan.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:49 AM on December 23, 2006


her whisper was supposed to be a placeholder.

Not the whispering girl, the other one that you can hear at the end of this ad.
posted by jjg at 8:43 AM on December 23, 2006


I suspect that the older of the two is actually Shigeru Miyamoto

That's not Miyamoto. Those guys are actors. If either of them actually worked for Nintendo, it surely would have been in a press release and spread across every gaming blog.

I love this campaign, it does a great job of getting the message across without any voiceovers or such. I agree that the 'Puraystashon' voice tag always seemed notably Japanese, but it was definitely not as big of a focus of the campaign.
posted by ulotrichous at 9:44 AM on December 23, 2006


Based only on my meeting him, I would say Miyamoto is NOT in the commercial as one of the two Japanese guys.
posted by Fricka at 5:59 PM on December 23, 2006


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