The Wii was an easy sell. Nintendo showed the Wii Remote and that players could swing it around. Simple! Ditto for the Nintendo DS. It has a touch screen, and there is a stylus. Clear as day.
The Nintendo 3DS is another ball game altogether, because it isn't something that you can show directly on regular TV. Hideki Konno, the producer of the Nintendo 3D, previously told Edge Magazine that Nintendo's internal PR departments were saying that they should use cinema advertising, because movie theatres are capable of showing 3D movies. "But our key point with 3DS is that you don't need glasses," said Konno, "which you obviously need to use in cinemas." So, how can Nintendo show the portable's 3D abilities?
• Exaggeration: Already used in many ads to sell pretty much anything, Nintendo could use it to show how the Nintendo 3DS works. An early example of this would be the Nintendo clip at this year's E3 gaming expo in Los Angeles, that showed characters physically popping out of the Nintendo 3DS at company execs. Of course, the Nintendo 3DS games cannot actually pop out of the handheld, but the point was made. Likewise, Osaka-based electronics maker Panasonic has been running a series of advertisements for its new 3D televisions that require 3D glasses. The ads show soccer balls being kicked out of the television. Sony, I believe, is using a similar technique to advertise its 3D televisions as well.
• Trash Talking: At this year's E3, Nintendo showed footage of a family looking bored or uncomfortable while wearing 3D glasses. Then used that to compare to the sensation of glasses-free 3D. Since everyone knows what 3D glasses are (or has had experience with them), Nintendo could play up the benefits of its own system by talking about the disadvantages of traditional 3D. What's more, it would not necessarily have to show what the Nintendo 3DS's 3D looked like, but rather, what a person looks like enjoying 3D without glasses.
• Pop-Up: If people still read video game magazines like they did in the past, just imagine the wonderful pop-up book-type ads Nintendo could do.
The problem with Nintendo running a series of commercials showing Mario, a puppy and a fire-breathing Bowser jumping out out of the Nintendo 3DS is that some children *might* actually think this is what the Nintendo 3DS does. This kind of thing is great for a press conference, not so great for little kids. For better or worse, children do make a sizable chunk of Nintendo's gaming audience.
Besides, who wants to buy a portable that sucks you into it and burns off Reggie Fils-Aime's face?
Now that you mention it... Kidding!
The Nintendo 3DS is something that must be seen to be believed. And to those who cannot see it, Nintendo might be best off by saying what the Nintendo 3DS isn't, instead of what it is.