Just in case the tween girl in your life isn't asking for a Nintendo 3DS this Christmas -- early adopters of the 3DS tend to be males according to Joystiq -- she may start now after watching Justin Bieber's latest music video singing "All I Want for Christmas Is You" with Mariah Carey.
That's certainly what Nintendo America is banking on by blatantly working the 3DS into Bieber's music video/commercial. Not only does he put a couple of Aqua 3DSes into his shopping cart while harmonizing with Carey inside a department store (likely the Macy's Herald's Square in New York City), he also passes by some shoppers who happen to be gaming on their 3DSes in-store. Just as he finishes the line, "All I want for Christmas is you" at the 2:00 minute mark, the video cuts to a single shot of the Nintendo 3DS (see below). Subtle!
After a record-setting week in 3DS sales thanks to Black Friday, where Super Mario 3D Land is now the fastest selling handheld Mario title at 500,000 copies according to GameIndustry.biz, does Nintendo really need to blow the 3DS' growing cache by getting a teen pop star to shrill for a compelling piece of gaming hardware?
Despite tripling the sales of 3DSes in just one shopping obsessed week (exact number of units was not provided in the USA Today piece), and looking like its first year sale will surpass that of the DS (1.65 million 3DSes sold as of November 11 after eight months on the market, versus 2.37 million DSes sold in the first 12-months as tracked by the NPD Group), Nintendo still needs to get more 3DSes into more hands to make the handheld console a true retail success. Unfortunately for the 3DS, the bar is set impossibly high with its predecessor the DS selling a total of 128.9 million units worldwide as of October 2010 per Wikipedia.
To give the 3DS a fighting chance, Nintendo needs to expand its user base include more females so it makes sense to tap into Bieber's fans, but I'm not sure media savvy young ladies will be all that receptive to being pandered to with this lame excuse of a commercial. After all, a gaming console is not like a pretty dress that can make an impression just by being worn by a celebrity. You wouldn't expect boys to decide on a system just by watching a music video, so why would it work on girls?
This video is bound to cause a lot of face-palming among Nintendo fans and even tweens, but I wonder what the return on investment will be for Nintendo. Personally, the image of the 40-year-old Carey making eyes at the teenage Bieber makes me want to forget about the 3DS' cameo in the video. What about you?