Nintendo’s Super Mario 3D World PR Stunt #FAIL

Amazing PR idea: Launch the new Super Mario 3D game by turning Times Square into a live Super Mario 3D World that kids can actually play in – including life size warp pipes, trampoline coin jumps, flagpole finale and even Tanooki ears and tails. People were lined up way before this free event opened today at 10am and excitement was in the air! [PHOTOS AT BOTTOM OF POST]

The problem? Um…there was ZERO organization for the line. No ropes, cones, gated walkways, or security. After waiting for over an hour in a shabby semblance of a line, the crowd (which hadn’t moved) grew reckless. Pushing. Kids getting hurt. Yelling. Bad things. Outraged parents who had the audacity to ask the staff what was going on were brushed away. Staff was (understandably) shaken and unable to give any answers other than “we’re trying to figure something out." 

After another hour, I finally used my media credentials to get the boys in (feeling guilty for the hundreds of other kids and adults all standing around with little hope for entrance). The press releases had promised Tanooki tails and many had been given out, but here again Nintendo’s event staff was put in the position to disappoint more kids. We were given many different answers by many different staffers – the Tanooki accessories were only for the first 100 kids, only for kids in costume, only for press (aha, that got me mine), and so forth. 

By the time we left (around 1pm), they had finally put up a gate at the edge of the crowd so people at least knew where to start their journey. Not sure how many of those made it through by the 4pm closing time.

I was astounded and appalled that such large logistics issues were either not thought about or cared about in advance – and treated with such little caring while they were happening. It definitely put a damper on the overall mood, and many people were bypassing the extra brand-loyalty building opportunities (free picture, opportunity to play the game before it comes out tomorrow, etc.) as soon as they got through the experience. They wanted out. Such a shame, because all anyone wanted for the first couple hours was IN.

If I were Nintendo, the jobs of those in charge of executing this event would be on the line. This is Event Management 101 – especially when kids are involved! Fortunately, it didn’t escalate into a full riot situation. Most people will only hear about it from the press release and won’t have stood in the line to endure the mistreatment, so this will likely be deemed a successful stunt. But it’s hardly a way to treat your biggest fans.

[On line, when the crowd was still civilized]

[Mob getting unruly]

[Inside! Piranha plant]

[Warp pipe slide]

[Warp pipe pop-up]

[Coin trampouline]

[Goomba mushrooms]

[Tanooki tails and ears!]

[Flagpole finale]

[Gate on the crows FINALLY, 3 hours later…]

[Ultimately all that mattered: the smile on the Tanooki boy – thank goodness I had a press credential!]

~ Denise Blasevick, CEO & @AdvertGirl, The S3 Agency

Denise Blasevick
Denise Blasevick

CEO @The S3 Agency

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