Nintendo wins Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year award

Nintendo marketing teamFirst, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime won BrandWeek’s Marketeer of the Year award. Today, the rest of Nintendo caught up to him by winning Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year award with nary a specialized gamer soda or crying doll in sight.

Question: Can a new product not only radically revive a company but also reinvigorate an entire industry? Answer: Wii. […] “They have absolutely changed the industry,” says Julie Shumaker, VP-sales for in-game agency Double Fusion and former Electronic Arts national sales director. “They brought people who don’t consider themselves gamers into gaming. Data show people … still don’t consider themselves gamers — and they own a Wii. Sheer marketing brilliance.”

Perhaps the biggest coup in this article, however, is the parting shot fired by outgoing Perrin Kaplan. “A major insight that Nintendo had early on was that they saw that gamers were getting bored, even though they didn’t know it yet,” Kaplan said. Seriously, have you ever seen a group as classy or on their feet as the Nintendo marketing has been on their way out? They could have sat on their butts and said nothing, and yet there they are, in their last few days and months, lighting up the Intertubes with quotes like that one. Brilliant.

Tracey Clark, one of the original Wii Ambassador (remember that awesome program?), also gets a mention and a quote, which is always nice to see given the fact we were able to exclusively interview her in the days following her Nintendo Wii Party last year.

This Ad Age award is bittersweet. After this year, we’ll no longer have the quirky, highly intelligent marketing crew that’s guided Nintendo all these years. They’ll have moved on to bigger and better things as Nintendo itself physically moves to San Francisco and New York. But the fact that they received this award in the twilight of their Nintendo careers, well, that’s pretty special.

And it would seem we are finally starting to get concrete numbers regarding how successful Nintendo’s expansion effort has been to date. “Total U.S. video game sales reached $10.5 billion in 2005, according to NPD. They rose 19% to $12.5 billion in 2006 and are on track to jump 44% to $18 billion this year,” the article states.

Internal Nintendo research shows a 42% increase in DS purchases among women, a 127% increase among people over 30 and a 212% increase among people over 35 during an 18-month period ending in spring 2007. Wow.

PS — Check out the short article on the Wii name following the Ad Age award story.