Nintendo aims to catch North American youth

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Nintendo has brought its wildly popular Pokemon game to Canada, where the No. 1 video game marketer believes it will become "the same kind of cultural phenomenon" seen in Japan.

National support for the Game Boy game is through print, television and a promotion on YTV, Canada's top youth specialty channel. Handling is Leo Burnett, Toronto, which adapted U.S. creative for the Canadian market.

Slogan for the 15- and 30-second spots: "Gotta Catch 'Em All," a reference to Pokemon's 150 different monster characters that players can collect and trade. Game monsters get center stage in the live action and animation :30, which shows a bus driver squeezing a bus-load of the critters into a Game Boy.

Efforts for Canada and the U.S. launched simultaneously; North America is the first international market for Pokemon, which has sold eight million units in Japan since being introduced in February 1996.

A line of Pokemon toys will be launched in Canada in November in time for Christmas sales. The first toy will be Pokemon Pikachu, which is an electronic pet that needs a variety of attention in order to survive.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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