Nintendo of America introduces Pokemon for its Game Boy line Sept. 28 with a 30-second TV spot from Leo Burnett here and a new marketing approach.
"Typically, we launch a video game like a movie: six weeks of support and then you're done and you move on to the next one," said George Harrison, vice president of marketing and corporate communications at the Redmond, Wash.-based company. "But Pokemon is a franchise we expect will grow over several years. You have to get a franchise established, and we're doing that [with the launch campaign]."
The effort has begun with a direct mailing of a Pokemon teaser tape to Nintendo's database of Game Boy owners. An animated, five-day-a-week Pokemon TV show made its debut last week, with 87 percent market clearance, Harrison said.
At $13 million, the ad budget for Pokemon--with all elements tagged "Gotta catch 'em all"--is the highest of any of Nintendo's Game Boy titles. Coupled with the $12 million KFC will spend in November on a tie-in promotion, the game is getting more market support than any Nintendo product, Harrison said, because the company sees Pokemon as a long-term product in the U.S., as it has been in Japan. A home video, comic books, trading cards and a Hasbro toy line are all part of the planned Pokemon franchise.