Promotional Consideration: Dual screen theatre

Eric Caoili
E. Caoili|01.07.08

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Promotional Consideration: Dual screen theatre

Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.

The following DS Lite ads were taken from a series of Nintendo-sponsored station identification pieces (idents) aired over a year ago on Channel 4. For those of you unfamiliar with idents, they're short spots, often themed, stuck in between television shows to help "brand" the channel. In the case of this set, the UK public-service TV station bookended its comedy programs with Japanese theatre-styled advertisements for the DS's features and games.

They're some of the most creative commercials we've seen for the handheld, so don't skip this post!

Down one screen. Up the other.

We'll start with a crowd favorite, New Super Mario Bros. This short clip resembles the Super Paper Mario Bros. DS video we featured last month, but with real people (and puppets)! Notice that the ident never shows a single screenshot. Who needs screenshots or gameplay videos when you've got the power of theatre!

A celebrated goal. A daring kick. Waggling legs.

This Pro Evolution Soccer 6 spot shows off the game's replay feature by having the "on-screen" actors move in a rewound fashion. While it's a simple approach, it's a lot more entertaining than seeing a replay from the video game. Also, get a look at this guy waggling his legs.

Control the action. Shave a dude's beard.

We're meant to think of the DS's touchscreen capabilities with this silly ident, but it could just as easily be an ad for WarioWare: Touched! The cuts and band-aid are a great touch, if painful-looking!

Massive bruin. Storm of bees. Bear handpuppet.

This one can be a little confusing -- using the DS's microphone, you can command bees to chase away bears! Like all the other commercials in this article, this ident uses a Japanese puppet theatre and storytelling style of presentation called Bunraku. The puppeteers are visible, but are dressed in black so as to not distract from the movements of their full-bodied puppets or props.

Sunflowers thrown. Flailing legs. Fallen lamp post.

Remember Sega's Rub Rabbits (or Feel the Magic, as it's known in the states), the DS launch title in which you try to win a woman's heart by completing a series of minigames? Here's a spot for the game and another demonstration of the DS's microphone -- blow away your rivals! How did they get the newspaper to stay up so high for so long?

"Objection!" "Overruled!"

This Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney commercial is kind of sad, actually, showing the defendant crying on her prison bed, gripping the sides of her mattress as she takes in her new life behind bars. Outside her cell door, a man (the judge?) watches her through a small window and laughs as she suffers.

Touchscreen controls. Space combat. A fox's salute.

If only this was the actual game! Can you believe the Fox McCloud outfit? How can you not love it?

Homing missiles. A trip around the world. A ruined Australian robot.

And if only the bounty hunters in Metroid Prime Hunters actually looked like these robots, what with their bowler hats and cork hats. What's a cork hat, you ask? It's a brimmed cap with corks hanging off of it to keep flies away. But why would a robot have to worry about flies?

Baby Mario. Hungry Yoshi. Digested Shyguy.

The set designers did a great job mimicking the art direction in Yoshi's Island 2 with the bushes popping out of the bottom screen. The twisting flowers also nicely recall the game's cartoonish feel.

Use WiFi. Beat foreign players.

Here we have a medley of idents advertising the Nintendo DS's WiFi and dual screen features (We're not sure why the Super Monkey Ball commercial was included, though.). The "Chinaman" caricature in the first piece might be considered offensive by some, but it's less insulting if you remember that the performance is carried out by an Asian cast.

Our favorite in this collection is the spot in the middle (00:21) showing the country of India beating down the UK with an L-shaped tetrimino. Where else can you find entertainment like this?

[Much thanks to Bertos79, without whose efforts we never would have been able to provide you such a variety of these Channel 4 idents.]
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