Nintendo puts $50 mil push into the 64

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Nintendo of America is mapping the biggest product launch in its history, budgeting $50 million to market the long-awaited Nintendo 64 game player between late August and December, including $20 million in media advertising.


Trying to regain leadership in the $6 billion videogame market with its hot but delayed new player, Nintendo will team up with Kellogg Co. on a cereal box sweepstakes and stage promotions with Viacom's Blockbuster Video and Nickelodeon cable TV network.

George Harrison, Nintendo VP-marketing and corporate communications, said the campaign from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, will be "95%" TV.

Because of production constraints, Nintendo expects to ship only 500,000 of the $250 devices before Christmas, not enough to meet demand.


But the heavy spending is meant to build momentum for the new product, which will be going up against the hot-selling Sony PlayStation and less successful Sega Saturn.

"In our industry," Mr. Harrison added, "a little product shortage is always a good thing--the Cabbage Patch phenomenon," referring to the doll that became a media darling when demand outstripped supply.

Nintendo hopes the new machine will vault it past Sega of America into industry leadership.

However, Nintendo expects two-thirds of revenues this year to come from old products or new versions of older devices; it will spend $40 million advertising these offerings.

Copyright May 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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