Nintendo role in 5th Grader spearheaded by Starcom

Here's the skinny on how Nintendo's Big Brain Academy ended up in Are You Smarter Than a Canadian 5th Grader?

‘The stars just sort of aligned’ after a recent planning session with her boss – Starcom MediaVest Group chief executive Lauren Richards – Shauna Chan, a strategy director at Starcom Worldwide, tells MiC.

‘We were brainstorming about what we might do with (our client) Nintendo’s Big Brain Academy to really reach alpha moms and their kids,’ she explains. ‘Lauren has great relationships with CanWest and she suggested I call someone there to talk about perhaps doing something with their Spelling Bee series.

‘Instead, when I spoke with (CanWest MediaWorks VP marketing ventures/brand partnership) Gaye McDonald, I found out they were pursuing the Canadian 5th Grader opportunity, although it hadn’t yet been confirmed. So we immediately said: let’s just go for it (to get in on the deal).’ And that, she says, is why ‘a lot of our early ideas (about attaching Nintendo) were actually on board when CanWest went to L.A. to get final approval from the Mark Burnett group.’

What’s the moral of the story? ‘Media is being consumed in so many different ways now that if you’re not integrated into the content, you risk being overlooked,’ says Chan. ‘And this (initiative) speaks to the power of the senior relationships in the business – just keeping in contact with one another to be able to have these sorts of discussions on a whim, so when opportunities come up, you’re ready to pounce.’

Are You Smarter Than a Canadian Fifth Grader? – complete with Nintendo’s ‘Big Brain Academy Zone’ as sponsor of the ultimate $25,000 question – is set to debut on the Global network in October. A host for the series will be announced next week.