Super Mario Galaxy 2’s YouTube Campaign: Nintendo know how to do content well.

Desire is a strange word. The OED defines it as a notion of requirement. If you desire something, you require it. While there are varying degrees of requirement, the OED also describes desire as an indicator of craving something. So, if I am to understand things correctly, if you desire something, you both crave and require, want, or need it.

Right now, I desire to get my hands on Super Mario Galaxy 2. Bear with me, if you will. I know this has been a recurring theme in this blog, as of late, but Nintendo have done a superb job of building, or manufacturing this desire within me, over the past few weeks, with its YouTube campaign leading up to the game’s release on Sunday.

I’m a huge Mario fan. That’s a given. I enjoyed the first Super Mario Galaxy a great deal, and was looking forward to its sequel, to some extent. I wasn’t craving it to the extent of hopping across my room with excitement whenever I see or hear anything new of the game, however. Nintendo have done a brilliant job of drip-feeding information about the game to its public, and they’ve done so fantastically.

If any of you are unaware of the current campaign going down on Nintendo’s YouTube channel, a new ‘transmission’ (from planet Mario, I assume) is uploaded every other day, which is a minuscule snippet of in-game footage, never longer than a minute or so. At the start of each video, you’re shown a ‘progress bar’, made up of planets, which denotes every trailer leading up to release. Instantly, you can see how much content you’re going to receive over the course of the campaign, which is already a good incentive to check back. The trailers themselves are brilliant, never showing too much, or too little; just enough to whet your appetite. Each trailer shows off one new gameplay element, such as a playable Luigi, various new power-ups, new level designs that incorporate 3D and 2.5D cleverly and seamlessly, and the return of Yoshi, and his functionality as character. The latest trailer was absolutely fantastic. To quote my recent tweet, “I almost just crapped my pants with excitement” on watching it. Quite.

Any fan of Super Mario 64 will instantly see what I mean, when I say that this made me excited.

Nintendo have created a cunning way of enticing Mario fans, old and new, into finding out about Super Mario Galaxy 2. By not releasing all the information gleaned from these brief trailers all at once, they don’t overload you with information, and deliver their content in a way that is much more exciting than a boring old ‘Info’ page on a website, that no one really reads in great depth anyway. These videos sort of make me feel like I’m piecing together a puzzle, which is exciting. That, I think, is something you don’t see enough of in advertising today, in my humble opinion.

I talk an awful lot about control on this blog. Control of expectations, but also control of emotions. Nintendo have made me want this game in a way that not even Rockstar have managed, with their imminent release of Red Dead Redemption tomorrow (in the UK). Red Dead Redemption is a game I’m also very excited about, but in giving me an almost daily reason to want their game, Nintendo have succeeded in making me truly crave Super Mario Galaxy 2. Good on you lot.


Kick-Ass: What I thought

I saw Kick-Ass last night. As it’s a new, much talked about film, I feel inclined to blog about it. I don’t really feel qualified to give an opinion on it; not because I doubt my abilities in reviewing films, but because it didn’t really do anything for me.

You’ve probably heard about Kick-Ass. If not, it’s based on a comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. about a guy (Dave Lizewski) who, fed up with being a mild-mannered super-geek, and blinded by heroic visions, buys himself a ski suit and becomes ‘Kick-Ass’, the ass-kicker. Lizewski has no superpowers, which he openly admits at the beginning of the film. He’s just a guy who wants to make a difference. Dave, as Kick-Ass, one day accosts some muggers, the ordeal gets captured via phone camera, and through the wonder of YouTube, Kick-Ass becomes an overnight phenomenon. Kick-Ass then sets up a MySpace account, and becomes the talk of the town. Kick-Ass’ ass-kicking ventures also happen to inspire others to fashion their own costumes, and become super heroes, for better or worse. These others are Damon Macready (or Big Daddy, played by Nicholas Cage), Mindy Macready (Hit-Girl, played by Chloe Moretz), and Chris D’Amico (Red Mist, who is Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Without spoiling the plot, which I actually quite enjoyed, having never encountered the comics before, there’s a lot of fighting, a lot of funny moments, and an awful lot of blood. The film is mainly taken up establishing the creation of Kick-Ass, and his other would-be superheroes. Then, a narrative that has been subtly weaved from the beginning of the film manifests itself properly, paving the way to the final showdown, with the plot creating just enough anger for the showdown to feel satisfying and well-deserved.

As I mentioned before, there’s a lot of blood in the film. You also get to see an eleven year old (Hit-Girl) wielding various knife-based weapons like a pro, shooting people, like a pro, and exclaiming profanities you’d never expect to hear from the mouth of any woman, let alone a pre-teen. It’s pretty shocking stuff, which is quite hilarious at the same time. You can’t blame Hit-Girl for the way she is, being raised by her slightly unhinged and very overprotective father. Cage plays an excellent oddball. I did laugh. There are also some great fight scenes, and a very funny episode with a certain anti-tank weapon. This is traditional old-school superhero faire, presented through a non-conventional narrative. The bad guys are typical, and you can’t help but laugh as their ranks are decimated by out unlikely heroes. The story is also typical. There is a love interest, and Dave constantly assesses and reassesses his feelings on being a superhero. It never interferes with the action, however, and only adds to the narrative This isn’t only a story about superheroes. It’s a story about living out your teenage fantasies, whatever they may be. Yeah, I guess I did enjoy the film, after all.

May I add, as a somewhat geekish side note, I was rather giddy at the inclusion of social media in the film, and the fact that it played such a pivotal part in the film’s plot. That being said, I think part of what spoiled my enjoyment is the amount of time I spent researching the film before I actually went to see it. Don’t watch the trailers. They spoil some of the funniest parts of the film. Also, don’t go anywhere the Daily Mail fiasco about the film supposedly being immoral. That spoiled much for me. Cheers, Daily Mail.

Kick-Ass is a feel-good film that will make you smile, and will make you laugh. If you’re in the mood to do either of those things, Kick-Ass will surely deliver.

A great April Fools ad: Dr Pepper

Way to embrace a burgeoning social trend and turn it into a great ad! This is what happens when marketers listen to what’s going on in the real world. Bonzer.