EarthBound Tower Defense Game
Shigeru Miyamoto once made a statement about EarthBound:
We had high hopes for Earthbound, the Super NES version, in the US, but it didn’t do well. We even did a TV commercial, thinking, “Hey… this thing could sell three million copies!” But it didn’t.
The weird thing is, if they did make a commercial, they must have decided not to air it. I always wondered what the deal with that was.
Anyway, it was always apparent that Nintendo had invested a lot in trying to market EarthBound in North America, but we had no real idea how much. But the new owner of those recently discovered EarthBound photo slides also found some other inside marketing stuff:
click to enlarge, also more info about this here
It looks like Nintendo was going to spend $2 million in “national advertising targeting teens and young adults”. My guess as to where this money went:
- Subsidizing a lot of stuff (like EarthBound Player’s Guide and the giant box) so the game didn’t end up costing $100 or something.
- The scratch-n-sniff advertising. From personal experience, I found one in Nintendo Power, one was mailed by itself from Nintendo to me, and I came across two others in other magazines. So they must’ve made a lot of them and placed them everywhere.
- Maybe Miyamoto was telling the truth and they worked on some commercials that never aired, thus being a big waste of money?
- Some of the money probably went to the coupon campaign that let people get the game for $10 less.
- Other promotional stuff like the scratch n sniff stuff in the guide, the Mach Pizza air freshener promotional contests, the pogs, etc.
I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of things, and it’s possible that budget might’ve been changed after that was printed. But still, $2 million is a lot of money. What’s even more eye-opening is that this clearly shows that the target audience of the ads was teenagers and older. But the whole “this game stinks” marketing campaign had a 7-10 year old “ha ha smelly gross stuff is funny boogers fart” mentality to it. The marketing guys must’ve had some miscommunication problems or something.
The fact the game’s sales fell so short of expectations probably meant the game made a huge loss for Nintendo. And that’s probably why Nintendo ignores the series outside of Japan now.
And for some reason, I’m compelled to link to this comic again: EarthBound’s Marketing
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