large part of marketing includes building up a reputation through different strategies based on the factors that are present in the market. However, sometimes companies have a 180-degree shift with the type of business they proceed with.
A good example of this is Nokia, which turned from a factory that produced paper to the best mobile phone company in the 2000s.
However, instead of talking about Nokia, we’re going to be taking a look at what Nintendo occupied itself with before entering the video game industry. At the same time, I hope that you’ll acknowledge the importance of a pristine image gained through marketing. So pristine that many people aren’t aware of the love hotels Nintendo occupied itself with in Japan in the 1960s.
What Is a Love Hotel?
I’m aware that many people are familiar with the term, but I still want to explain it so that there’s no confusion. A love hotel is simply a hotel for people to have sex in (specifically built for this). This isn’t illegal, and it’s still quite a common business in Japan. According to some research done on this industry, love hotels were booming in Japan in the 1960s and 1970s.
Many foreigners described them as motels, but in recent years, they’ve actually become very extravagant with themed rooms and even costumes (as weird as it sounds). These hotels have become a real money maker. The problem with these hotels, though, is that there is some illegal business conducted in them. This includes prostitution as most of these love hotels are found within the red light districts.
At the time, Hiroshi Yamauchi was the president of Nintendo, and he was a very successful businessman in Japan and was always investing in new ventures like the love hotel. Nintendo didn’t really have much of a plan as to what it wanted to become, but they had a lot of financial power.
Where did all the money come from?
Nintendo’s Association With Organized Crime
What a better way to promote such love hotels than through the notorious Yakuza clan (Japanese Mafia). They ran the sex industry at the time (and probably still do), and therefore they tried to lure Hiroshi Yamauchi into a deal where their prostitutes could use the love hotels. Many people Fusajiro Yamauchi, the founder of Nintendo, was the one who created connections with organized crime.
One thing led to another and more crimes started to appear under Nintendo’s name, such as gambling. At this point, Nintendo’s name made sense as the translation from Japanese would be something like “equally unclear,” or a more specific translation, “leave luck to heaven.” This is because Hiroshi Yamauchi tried his luck at all sorts of ventures, from local restaurants to taxi services.
In the late 1970s, all of the dodgy business was left behind, and even the love hotel venture that Nintendo opened failed. At this time, Hiroshi Yamauchi had an interesting thought. The late 1970s marked the start of the video game industry, and Yamauchi saw the true potential with that industry. He realized it could be very lucrative.
Nintendo became the pioneers of the video game industry and created popular game titles like Super Mario. As they became more and more popular, their notorious history was forgotten.
Can This Affect Nintendo Today?
From a marketing perspective, such history can be quite bad for business. However, for a company that has had a strong reputation for decades and is well known on a global scale, it’s quite difficult for them to be affected. As well as taking into consideration that all of this dodgy business took place in Japan (their home country).
It’s all about the consumer at this point and if they want to be affected by the history of the company.
Would you purchase their products knowing their history?
Most likely yes, as history is history and the image of any brand or company can evolve or devolve. Another interesting point to mention is with Hugo Boss. For those who wear the brand, are you aware that this is the same brand that has produced the uniforms worn by German soldiers in World War II?
The information is out there publicly, and the company has even had many disputes and court cases because of this. However, this hasn’t stopped people from purchasing their clothing. This is why the consumer has to also acknowledge the difference between the old way of doing business and the new way of doing business.
When you’re marketing on a global level (especially in the video game industry), the image of the company is more about the quality of the video game rather than any marketing campaigns. The marketing campaigns for video games are taken to a whole different level of association in order to intrigue the consumer with the storyline of the video game.
Such as mentioned before, the popular Super Mario franchise has been around for over four decades, and it’s still popular to this day because of the way it has been marketed (offered) to the consumer base.