Wii vs. them: Nintendo and TVA pit families against celebs

Quebec families shake their Miis with celebrities in a series of 75-second spots airing twice daily on the French-language broadcaster TVA.

Looking to make an impact with Quebec families, Nintendo has launched a five-week mini-series of promotional vignettes on French-language channel TVA that feature families taking on celebrity opponents on its Wii console games.

The series, titled Les Stars de la Wii: L’Utime Face à Face, a collaborative effort between Nintendo, its media agency Starcom and TVA, which pitched the concept to Starcom in response to an RFP. Featuring a different family-celebrity pairing each week, the 75-second spots will run once a week on TVA’s Salut Bonjour morning show, and again during the 6 p.m. evening news. Fifteen-second promotional spots will air on TVA throughout the week.

The campaign started with a contest in September, in which Quebec families submitted videos depicting their ‘family spirit’ for the chance to Wii-battle a celebrity on TV. The five winning families are featured in the series, which show a celebrity arriving at the family’s home and challenging them to a game on the Wii. Celebrities involved include singer Annie Villeneuve, comedian Réal Béland, hockey player Stephane Quintal, Olympian Bruny Surin and fitness expert Josée Lavigueur.

‘We really wanted to find a way to break through in the Quebec market, to do something that would really position Nintendo as the family entertainment unit,’ Chad Galbraith, strategy manager, Starcom Worldwide, told MiC.

TV was an ideal medium through which to promote Wii because demonstration is a key part of getting non-gamers to understand the platform, said Galbraith.

‘We know that you can spend a little on TVA and get a massive amount of reach in the Quebec market,’ he explained. ‘For us, the biggest thing when you’re talking to a group of non gamers – what Nintendo calls its expanded audience – [is] to be demonstrative of how the game works.’

The spots were produced in-house by TVA and are complemented by a microsite on the network website. The site features the spots, the family audition tapes, celebrity profiles and Nintendo console and game information.