Nintendo promoting McDonalds or McDonalds promoting Nintendo?
When people were saying that Nintendo has to come up with something (and soon) to compete with the other major console manufacturers, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t what they had in mind. It seems Nintendo is teaming up with McDonalds UK to create a new line of Happy Meals, a line that has a Super-Mario flavor to it, and of course, includes Super Mario toys. This move from Nintendo is questionable, as the brand needs strengthening right now, more than anything, and I’m not sure associating your product with a fast-food chain that has been heavily criticized lately is the best way to go at it.
In any case, fans of the legendary platformer will be able to pick up some Super Mario toys in British McDonalds restaurants. I half-expect Mario to yell “It’s a mia, caloria!” when opening the Happy Meal box though. All jokes aside, this type of cooperation isn’t exactly a novelty for Nintendo and McDonalds, as the two have teamed up before. The Nintendo DS was even used in Japan to train employees in how to make a better burger.
Last week, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata explained that Nintendo would resort to pretty much any means necessary (including possible mergers and acquisitions) in order to bring the company back to profitability. The idea of outsourcing popular Nintendo characters wasn’t dismissed entirely either. “Licensing Mario in digital areas would mean that there is a possibility that Mario will appear in stamps or wallpapers for smartphones, and I will not rule out this kind of business. This is because we believe that this would not be in direct competition with Nintendo’s business and would not threaten our video game platform business which integrates hardware and software.” explained Iwata.
This marketing move is obviously targeted at children, and probably aims to boost Nintendo 3DS and Wii U console sales through the popular character of Mario. For now, the campaign seems to be limited to the UK, and will most likely start towards the end of February. Ironically, the popularity of McDonalds has been severely affected in the United Kingdom during the recent years, following Jamie Oliver’s war on the fast-food chain. I still believe that Nintendo’s association with unhealthy food is going to hurt them more in the long-run. It will be interesting to see if this campaign will be extended to other countries and areas of the globe too.