Friday May 5, 2006 10:48 pm
Wii: Thoughts On Product Naming
I’m not an expert in branding or picking product names, but as I thought about the ramifications of Nintendo’s choice of product name for their next console (Wii, in case you missed it), I’ve been thinking more and more about what a terrible choice it was.
First, Nintendo released a one-sheet explaining the name. This includes how it’s pronounced, what it means, and their ‘vision’. It strikes me that if you have to go to all that trouble, you picked the wrong name. The name should just resonate. People should be able to feel it right away, and the pronounciation should be clear.
The Big N explained the decision behind the name in a statement, which we’ve provided for your reading pleasure:
As in “we.”
While the code-name Revolution expressed our direction, Wii represents the answer. Wii will break down that wall that seperates videogame players from everybody else. Wii will put people more in touch with their games… and each other. But you’re probably asking: What does the name mean?
Wii sounds like “we,” which emphasizes the console is for everyone. Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.
Wii has a distinctive “ii” spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people playing it. And Wii, as a name and a console, brings something revolutionary to the world of videogames that sets it apart from the crowd.
So that’s Wii. But now Nintendo needs you. Because it’s really not about you or me. It’s about Wii. And together, Wii will change everything.
Any change was going to be met with some resistance, and Nintendo knows this. But what they have got to be feeling now (based on the interview) is more than resistance. It’s apathy at the least, and all-out loathing at the high-end, with a fair amount of mockery all across the middle. When ‘Puck-Man’ was brought to the US, they changed the name because they knew precisely what would happen ... their game would become ‘####-Man’. Nintendo, by naming the console ‘Wii’, is opening the door to the most childish urine and phallus comparisons you can imagine. Hell, it’s already started...
Hey Mom, Roger’s bringing his Wii over. We’re going to connect his Wii to my Wii and then we’ll play all night.
You cant’ tell me that NOA didn’t see this coming. Every third grader saw this coming.
Finally, they released the name before E3, so that people would have time to get used to it. I have no doubt that the system and games can stand on thier own, but if you’re that concerned that the name will overshadow the entire event, isn’t that another red flag that a poor choice was made?
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