Five Brands Who Redefined Their Markets with Clever PR

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Yesterday, Nintendo presented its newest video game console, the Wii U, nearly six years after the original Wii launch redefined the profile of a video gamer.

For the Wii’s 2007 launch, Nintendo avoided standing toe-to-toe with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 to compete for the attention of teenage boys. Instead, they decided to change their target audience and market to men and women over the age of 25. Through clever PR and marketing campaigns, Wii hit paydirt, selling nearly 100 million consoles worldwide.  Even senior citizens began getting into gaming, thanks to a sampling initiative that saw Wii consoles appear on cruise ships popular with over-50s travelers.

“We realized we had to do things differently,” said George Harrison, Nintendo America’s SVP of marketing and corporate communications.

Here are four more brands who did things differently and opened new markets through clever PR campaigns.

NFL completes pass to women

After the NFL found that women made up more than 40% of a football game’s viewership, they decided to capitalize on it. In 2010, the NFL put up a Hail Mary pass and invested $10 million to reach women with a huge comms campaign that included a new clothing line. By August of that year, the NFL introduced its new line with a campaign that included a temporary shop in New Orleans selling a variety of branded women’s clothing from jerseys to bikinis.

The NFL succeeded with such a drastic change, says marketing firm Quaintise, because of its brand equity. After years of marketing, the game already had a high value to men so they didn’t lose male viewership.

Hershey’s scores in candy war

Hershey’s and Mars had jockeyed to reign supreme in the world of candy for decades. In the 1970s, it seemed that Hershey’s had lost its grip on the top spot. What turned Hershey’s into candy king in the 1980s was its decision to make products for adults, who, according to a 1985 article from Fortune Magazine, then consumed 55% of all candy..

Hershey’s PR campaigns continue to appeal to adults, as as evidenced by its recent launch of Simply Pleasures. Hershey’s recently introduced this lower-fat chocolate to its target audience with a seven-city tour of the country in July, giving away the product to adults who signed a petition to enjoy their summer without waistline worries..

Men no longer hog Harley Davidson hogs

In the wake of the recent recession which caused motorcycle sales to dip, Harley Davidson has revved up its marketing efforts to go outside its traditional demographic of, as Business Insider described it, “older white guys”.

To engage with women, who make up 10% of motorcycle riders, the company promoted its range of motorcycles with lower seats. Dealerships are currently holding women-only garage parties that offer tips and seminars on motorcycle riding. The company has also created an instructional video on the correct way to pick up a toppled 550lb Harley –  as demonstrated by a lady.

Mountain Dew targets city youth

Mountain Dew’s popularity among 18- to 24-year-olds in the plains states and southeastern United States turned it into the best selling non-cola soft drink. Now the soda-maker hopes to find a sweet spot with a new audience in urban areas.

The current marketing push began in April and features hip-hop star Lil Wayne and street skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, who were chosen to appeal to youth in urban centers like New York, Miami and LA, says Bloomberg Businessweek. In addition to the new endorsers, Mountain Dew aims to get its different flavored sodas in urban convenience stores, where often only the original is sold.

With the campaign underway, Mountain Dew showed one way it would raise its profile in urban areas when they and Lil Wayne announced that they had broken ground on a new skate park in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward Village on August 1.

Image: SharonaGott (Creative Commons)

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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