Spotted! Nintendo plays in Yonge-Dundas Square

The gaming co launches its much-anticipated new Super Mario title with an interactive event in downtown Toronto - complete with an appearance by the overall-wearing man himself.

Hot, sunny and packed with families: Nintendo of Canada could not have asked for a better release day for their much-hyped new game, Super Mario Galaxy 2.

The event took place at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto with a goal of dominating the media elements of the square. The activation was handled by Inventa in Toronto, with activation creative by Vancouver-based We The Collective. The centrepiece was a gaming tent featuring approximately 20 gaming stations where participants could get hands-on with Mario and his dinosaur pal, Yoshi. Those who played the game were rewarded with a character-branded goodie bag of themed product, while a balloon master whipped up characters from the game to the delight of his young crowd.

‘We really wanted to celebrate this launch of Super Mario Galaxy 2,’ Matt Ryan, senior supervisor, communications and advertising, Nintendo of Canada, told MiC. ‘We don’t do this for every game – I wish we did – but we knew that the game was going to draw a crowd of families and Mario fans, and they are definitely here.’

The event was surrounded, media-wise, by an OOH buy (handled by Starcom in Toronto), including traditional and video billboards in the Square,a back-lit LED screen and appearances by Mario himself. Estimated brand impressions for the day are 118,000.

‘We really bookended Yonge-Dundas Square,’ Ryan said of the on-site activation, which was localized to Toronto. ‘You can’t walk around out here and not know that Mario is in town.’

Nintendo has ‘the broadest’ target demographic, Ryan explains, and an event like this was designed to reach hard-core gaming fans and the brand’s main target, families, alike. The Square was perfect for reaching the wide audience, he said, and those who like the game could purchase it nearby at HMV, Future Shop, Best Buy and EB Games.

With game-sampling as the primary goal of the activation – as well as generating awareness of the launch – Nintendo was hoping to get Wii controls into the hands of over 2,000 fans, Ryan says.

The launch was also supported with a national TV campaign across specialty and conventional television, and a YouTube teaser campaign in which video of the game was released incrementally in the weeks leading up to its release. The campaign officially started May 17 and will last for four weeks.