Campaign: Nintendo

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Nintendo and Leo Burnett USA have launched "School's Out," a big-budget cinema spot, part of the new "Who Are You?" campaign, which, thankfully, has nothing to do with the Who. This is about exploiting the various personalities found in Nintendo's videogame characters, led, of course, by Mario and Luigi, aka The Franchise. The spot features more than 500 extras, as we see swarms of kids pouring out of school as 2:30 rolls around, racing to a videogame store to get a new release, assuming the superpowers of various game characters as they move along, running atop trains, plunging down manholes and the like. When they finally reach the store, they've all acquired videogame character heads, straight out of the client's sweetest dreams, no doubt. This is all played dialogue-free to a breezy Japanese pop tune; in fact, they entire spot is all-Japanese, yet it's playing on 10,000 U.S. movie screens. Has internationalism become that cool or is it a videogame thing? "A bit of both," says Burnett CD/writer Kash Sree. "Think about Peugeot's 'Sculptor,' or the long-running Stella Artois campaign." At the same time, he adds, "We don't really think of it as an Asian commercial. It happens to be based on the fact that Mario is so big in Japan, when they release a new game they have to shut the schools early."

The oddly faux-appropriated print ads feature Nintendo characters seemingly taped onto archival images, like the Mona Lisa and the Berlin Wall, the only copy being that "Who are you?" According to a Burnett press release, "kids are already creating their own versions of the print ads via websites and message boards, placing Nintendo characters on celebrities like Dr. Evil and Carson from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." Just wait till the Fab 5 get ahold of Mario.

Client: Nintendo Agency: Leo Burnett USA CCO: Mark Tutssel ECD: Jonathan Hoffman CDs: Dominick Maiolo, Bill Stone, Kash Sree AD: Jeff Labbe CW: Kash Sree Agency Producers: Ron Nelken, Jenny Leimbrook Director: Anthony Atanasio/Identity Editor: Herve Schnseed/La Maison Music: "Hatsukoi," Mayumi Kojima

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