By Vilan Trub, Business Wire
Half a million views in a single day, and counting, is no easy feat. A news release from Nintendo this week accomplished just that, and every communications pro should take note of the basic reasons that led to such grand visibility.
Before the digital revolution, a hero was born by the name of Mario, and this hero had a nemesis named Bowser. Bowser started off as a Koopa King who breathed fire, but much has changed. On May 20th, 9am Eastern Time, Nintendo of America announced via a Business Wire distributed news release that Doug Bowser was named as the new Vice President of sales in America. Clearly the two Bowsers are not one and the same, but the irony was not lost on Golin, the PR agency handling Nintendo’s communication management. They identified and utilized the humorous angle that presented itself and converted it to visibility gold. Over 500,000 views, including over half a million views alone of just Doug Bowser’s photograph, is making this an industry defining news release.
Especially significant is that 60% of the traffic is stemming from social media. People are actively sharing this content, driving awareness through the roof. Doug Bowser is now a star and Nintendo can be seen almost everywhere online. The press release is having a moment right now, but why?
Journalists, media professionals, news consumers, they are all eager for interesting and relevant content. Golin found a way to satisfy their target market’s needs by understanding the basic elements of a release. What could have been a regular announcement about a new hire was instead turned into a story. The story was about the irony of a company hiring a man who shares his name with a notorious character the company is known for. The headline didn’t read Doug Bowser as New VP of Sales.
The decision to omit Doug was a conscious one aimed at waking the reader up by tapping into their sense of humor. The announcement was professionally written but maintained a lightness, playing on the intended readers’ nostalgia and lingering interest. The release included multimedia, both Nintendo’s logo as well as a crisp headshot of Doug Bowser. Readers could see what a real life Bowser looks like, and they did, over half a million times.
Nintendo set a precedent with this release but it doesn’t mean other companies need to start developing video game characters then hiring employees with the same names. The lesson learned here is that every release has a story and the process of writing an announcement needs to start with identifying a story that can grab the reader’s attention. That story is your company’s story and if it connects with readers, it will be shared and reshared all over the internet.
If Bowser can be VP of sales at Nintendo, maybe Coca Cola can find a Draper to run creative.
The Nintendo release had significant coverage on mainstream media. Some examples include:
- The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/05/20/a-guy-named-bowser-is-now-a-nintendo-executive-yes-really/
- The Wall Street Journal (bottom of the page): http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/05/20/nintendo-finally-makes-peace-with-bowser/
- ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/nintendo-hires-bowser-sales-executive/story?id=31182023
- New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nintendo-hires-man-named-bowser-mario-nemesis-article-1.2229565
- CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102695432
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