Global Marketing Tuesday: Nintendo and Paucity



(1) Gaming console: The thing you use to play video games

The most popular gaming consoles are made by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

(2) To brag: To tell something good about yourself (or someone else)

I try not to brag about my salary, but I brag about my kids’ accomplishments all the time.

(3) Fabulous: It means “very good”, but is often used with fashion. Click here to see “fabulous”.

That’s a fabulous bag. Where did you buy it?



1. What is the paucity strategy?

a. A way to make something expensive

b. Increasing price until few items are sold

c. Making your product rare

2. How does Nintendo negotiate well with WalMart?

a. By limiting supply

b. Through long meetings and hard work

c. By supplying as much as WalMart wants

3. Why do people brag about buying a Nintendo console?

a. It’s hard to get one

b. It’s an amazing product

c. All their friends have one

7 ________________________




By Jeremy Schaar

Last week we looked at the elements of luxury branding. They were performance, pedigree, paucity, persona, public figures, placement, PR, and pricing.

Most brands, however, aren’t luxury brands. But the elements are useful for many brands. This week, and in the coming weeks, we’ll look at how the different elements of luxury branding can be used.

Nintendo isn’t a luxury brand, but they release a new gaming console every five years or so. At those times, they use one of the elements of luxury branding: paucity.

Again, paucity means rare. And Nintendo has used paucity to great success.

When I was a kid, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo. We all wanted one, but not everyone could find one. No one understood why. Couldn’t they just make more? The same has been true for other consoles. The picture above is of a guy who was very excited that he got to buy a Wii. He looks like he won something! That’s some pretty great marketing when someone gives you money and looks like he won.

Nintendo argues that they don’t know how many consoles to make and that production is hard. Don’t believe it. They sell millions of consoles, but they could sell more. They make their products rare on purpose.

They do it for the same reason that luxury handbag brands make their bags rare. When the product is rare, they can control price and create buzz.

Think about a company like Walmart. Normally, they control the price. Selling something in WalMart is so important for companies, that they must accept whatever WalMart demands. But not Nintendo. WalMart will charge whatever price Nintendo says because Nintendo’s product is rare. If WalMart doesn’t accept the price, Nintendo will just send the truck to another store. It won’t affect their sales at all.

Second, paucity creates buzz. Newspapers write about people trying to find a Nintendo Wii. People who do buy one get excited and and brag to their friends. In future years, this buzz continues to generate sales.

The strategy only works, of course, if the product is really good. A handbag should be fabulous and the Nintendo Wii should be a lot of fun to play.

Nintendo has used this strategy for almost 30 years. So, the next time Nintendo makes a new gaming console, don’t believe them when they say they don’t know how many to make and that it’s hard to produce as many as they want. They know exactly what they’re doing. It’s a very successful marketing strategy.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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