Nintendo’s Product Placement Past
With Mario Kart 8 due to hit store shelves tomorrow, Nintendo announced Thursday a partnership with car-maker Mercedes to bring a downloadable motor to the Mushroom Kingdom (for Japanese players at least).
The DLC will see a Mercedes GLA become available as a kart for Mario, Luigi and the Mario Kart 8 roster to pick from.
However, this isn’t the first time Nintendo have placed real-world brands within their first-party games. Here’s a round-up of Nintendo’s past and present product placement appearances:
- Mario Kart 8 – Mercedes Benz (GLA Kart)
Ditching the classic Kart for a more classier ride will be an option in Mario Kart 8.
- Mario Golf: World Tour – Callaway (Golfing Brand)
3DS title Mario Golf: World Tour features branded Callaway golf balls and even sponsored tournaments.
- Pikmin 2 – Duracell (Battery)
Miyamoto’s little Pikmin were put to work carrying this ‘Courage Reactor‘ in Pikmin 2. Here in the UK this item appeared as a Duracell battery, whereas in Japan it was a ‘National Hi-Top’ Japanese brand battery.
- Pikmin 2 – 7Up (Bottle Top)
Another little bit of product placement in the Gamecube’s Pikmin 2, this time by way of a 7Up bottle top.
- Wave Race 64 – Kawasaki (Jet Ski)
The Nintendo 64’s version of Wave Race featured prominent product placement for Jet Ski manufacturer Kawasaki, from in-game banners, to Jet Skis, to even featuring on the games Start Screen.
- 1080 Snowboarding – Tommy Hilfiger (Clothing)
Looking cool on the slopes was clearly a top priority in 1080 Snowboarding for the N64, as your characters came wearing designer Tommy Hilfiger clothing. The racing game also featured the brands logo on in-game advertising.
- 1080 Snowboarding – Lamar (Snowboards)
Staying with 1998’s 1080 Snowboarding — When selecting a board you did have a choice, but whatever that choice was, it had to be a Lamar.
- Punch Out – Mike Tyson
Ok, so this one isn’t strictly a ‘product’ placement, but to see a celebrity feature so prominently in a game was definitely unique at the time. 1987’s Punch Out features the boxing star as a boss battle, and in the North American version of the game Tyson’s name appeared on the box.
Know of any other instances of first-party Nintendo product placement? Let us know in the comments!