It seems that every day we read about the declining effectiveness of advertising. How viewers skip through the adverts, can switch off to the marketing noise, no longer respond to our messages.

Brands are increasingly looking at more diverse ways to engage consumers in their products, and I believe there is currently no better opportunity than the Nintendo Wii.

The Wii, for those who haven’t become addicted to this little white box, is a games console but one that is very different to what we have seen before.

Instead of sitting fixated to screen with a confusing 76-buttoned controller, the Wii detects your body movement to control an on-screen character in a variety of scenarios.

For example, in order to play tennis on the Wii, you need to throw your arm in the air to make the perfect serve and leap around to reach the back hander, all in your living room.

It all looks rather silly but it’s a lot of fun.

Since its launch, Nintendo has introduced a host of new games and accessories, including golf, fishing, boxing and even cow racing, all using your body movement as the main controller.

The most recent launch is the Wii Fit, a sort of electronic aerobics board that you stand on, allowing you to do a complete work out and the results recorded onscreen.

I find it incredible how the board can measure your weight, balance, pressure and movement, to create a highly engaging and addictive experience.

And now Nintendo has finally managed to deliver supply to match demand (deliberate or not, we can debate that another day), sales are overtaking that of Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.

With such huge popularity and powerful technology, I am surprised that a major brand has yet to create a product experience designed for the Wii.

Allowing the user to test your product in a virtual world would certainly be a highly engaging experience.

It’s certainly more powerful than just words, pictures or videos, and likely to engage me in active participation for longer than most other forms of advertising.

It could bridge the gap between flat advertising such as press and a real hands-on showroom demonstration, allowing me to explore all dimensions of a product from the comfort, and convenience, of my own home.

Here are a just a few ideas:

  • Toyota could build a simulator for its new car. It could allow you to specify the colour, the interior trim and optional extras, before using the Wii controller to drive it round a virtual street. You could try out the radio, see how much luggage could fit in the boot, even complete a 3 point turn.
  • Center Parcs could build a virtual experience of its holiday park. You could choose a room, take a dip in the pool, explore the restaurants and entertainment.
  • M&S could showcase its new season range. The Wii could measure your dimensions and weight, building a virtual model of yourself onscreen. Then try out a combination of skirts, shoes, jumpers, hats, to put together your perfect outfit, all from the privacy of your living room, before ordering it all online!

Distribution is hardly an issue.

With the number of CDs and DVDs now inserted to Sunday newspapers and glossy magazines, brands could distribute via a disc. The Wii is also connected to the internet, so it could also be offered as a download.

So come on brands, embrace this new technology to create an exciting engaging experience and I will happily invite you into my living room for a full 20 minutes of active participation in your brand.

Matthew Finch’s Blog

PS. I am sure you can come up with many more (and better) ideas for brands and products that could create a Wii experience, so all suggestions welcomed in the comment box below.