The Impact of Nintendo's "For Men" Advertising Campaign on a Potential Female Market
AbstractIn order to emphasize the maturation of their hand-held console and increase its appeal to an adult market, Nintendo's UK advertising campaign for the Game Boy Advance SP drew explicitly upon Œlad' culture and a tongue-in-cheek appropriation of cologne advertising. In this campaign,
the lead and most prominent promotional advert for the device used an image of the Game Boy with the tagline "For Men". This paper outlines why Nintendo's decision to present the Game Boy as a male accessory prompted exploration into its potential impact on the female market. Much of the emerging research field examining female participation in game cultures had at that point tended to focus its attention on exploring the experiences of different female groups with a variety of software titles and its associated communities. In contrast, this paper addresses participants' perceptions of the gaming industry and its relevance to them as a (potential) consumer by
taking a hardware device as its focus. This was achieved by conducting a series of focus groups, with a range of both experienced and inexperienced female game players, during which participants were asked to engage with the hand-held device and experience both its single and networked game-play capabilities with the game Legend of Zelda. The findings address participants' awareness and views on the extent to which gaming is coded male and its ramifications for their participation in game cultures.