Nintendo Portugal’s Jorge Vieira on Taking Super Mario and Friends Beyond Gaming

Nintendo Portugal’s Jorge Vieira on Taking Super Mario and Friends Beyond Gaming

Interview by Ricardo EstevesRicardo Esteves
Published: May 10, 2023

Who Is Jorge Vieira

As the current Nintendo Portugal’s Product Manager, Jorge Vieira has been responsible for the team handling all of Nintendo’s marketing initiatives, sales, and events in the country. Prior to joining Nintendo Portugal, Jorge Vieira worked in several high-profile Portuguese magazines, putting him in a unique position when working with the press.

"By creating opportunities for consumers to encounter Nintendo outside of the video game platform, Nintendo aims to maintain the overall momentum of its business" Jorge Vieira

Video games have become – by a large margin – the most lucrative entertainment business in the world. As per a report by Imarc, the gaming industry was valued at US$ 202.7 Billion in 2022 and is expected to reach a value of US$ 343.6 Billion by 2028.

Just recently the success of video games has also found its way to Hollywood. “The Last of Us” show has become one of HBO’s biggest hits ever and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has surpassed the US$ 1 Billion mark in the global box office in less than a month.

As always, Nintendo is one of the biggest players in the gaming world, now expanding beyond the digital world and into the movie and theme park industries. Jorge Vieira, from Nintendo Portugal, sheds light on the company’s philosophy, the gaming industry landscape, potential marketing opportunities, and the Nintendo Switch’s massive success.

Nintendo Logo

Spotlight: How has marketing in the gaming industry evolved over the years, and what trends are currently shaping the landscape of gaming marketing?

Jorge Vieira: Over the years the gaming industry has proved itself as one of the most dynamic sectors in the entertainment business and marketing plans have evolved accordingly. Different target audiences still require different approaches and proper social media channels but those bridges between gaming companies and consumers have shortened with time.

More than fresh buzzwords or marketing trends, I think it’s critical to establish an emotional connection with your audience and start building a long-term relationship founded on honesty, trust and good self awareness around the impact of each product title in the gaming landscape.

Gamers have become more and more diverse over the years and gaming marketing should learn how to adapt perfectly to each target audience.

How do gaming companies navigate the global market and adapt marketing strategies to different regions and cultures? What considerations are taken into account when launching products in new markets?

From my experience in the Portuguese market, there are obviously cultural differences between countries that should be taken into consideration, but one should also consider additional factors that might impact the implementation of a marketing plan. These include local legal constraints, product localization, and competition levels in the market, among other factors.

Let's talk about Nintendo Portugal. How does your team approach the global Nintendo campaign local perspective? What challenges and opportunities did you face?

Nintendo is a recognized worldwide gaming company, and our goal is to increase Portuguese consumers awareness around what makes Nintendo different and special to its fans. Since it opened its office in Portugal, the Nintendo team tried to reach the hearts and minds of Portuguese consumers through a series of media, PR and events activities.

The goal was, and is, to bring the Portuguese audience closer to the happiness you get when you play with Mario, Link, Kirby and so many other well-known characters from the Nintendo universe. Starting from a global marketing perspective but finetuning it to better address local cultural values, social trends and gaming tastes.

Nintendo has consistently captured children’s and adults’ imaginations over multiple generations. What is the secret behind this long-term success?

There’s no mysterious secret, just one simple goal: putting smiles on everyone’s faces. For a long time Nintendo has been working on expanding gaming boundaries and target audiences, so it’s heartwarming when we see entire families with different generations – from kids to grandparents – sharing and having fun with Nintendo games and consoles.

The company has some of the “most beloved” intellectual properties in the video game industry, such as Super Mario and Zelda. Can you discuss how Nintendo leverages these IPs in its marketing efforts? What impact this has on the company’s brand image?

I can’t go into much detail discussing specifics of Nintendo’s marketing efforts. I can just point you to the recent public declarations of Nintendo’s President, Mr. Shuntaro Furukawa, who confirmed Nintendo is always actively seeking ways to maximize the appeal of each IP and game to greatly increase sales momentum.

We try to apply, in our best ability, this philosophy in Portugal and we’ve seen positive results in the last few years where more and more Portuguese gaming fans have enjoyed great Mario and Zelda titles, for example, on the Nintendo Switch family of consoles.

Super Mario Bros Movie Poster

Speaking of Super Mario, the film by Illumination Studios is a significant development for the Super Mario brand and Nintendo as a whole. How do you leverage this opportunity and what impact is it expected to have on the brand's overall success?

By creating opportunities for consumers to encounter Nintendo topics in areas outside of the dedicated video game platform, Nintendo aims to maintain the overall momentum of its business. The Super Mario Bros. movie, combined with the Super Nintendo World theme parks and other initiatives to expand Nintendo’s IPs to a broader audience, works towards that goal of not only putting smiles on Nintendo fans faces but also opening the doors of the Mushroom Kingdom, for the first time, to thousands of children and families all around the world.

In Portugal we’ve worked closely with Cinemundo, the Universal Pictures official distributor in the country, to increase awareness and buzz around the movie premiere, making Mario a topic of conversation between parents and kids, gamers and non-gamers.

With this we expect to see more people interested not only in Mario’s antics on the big screen but also curious to discover how it feels to control Mario in the gaming space.

The Nintendo Switch has been a massive success compared to its predecessor, the Wii U. What marketing strategies contributed to the success of the Nintendo Switch, and how did Nintendo effectively position it in the gaming market?

Fundamentally, Nintendo Switch has been able from the get-go to communicate a simple and clear message to everyone interested in gaming: you are able to play your favorite games anytime, anywhere, with anyone.

The high quality experiences in portable and tabletop modes, the ability to instantly share the fun with a friend on the go, the convenience of playing a game in your TV and instantly switch to handheld and continue playing it on another place, those were great creative ammunitions to fuel the marketing strategies and make Nintendo Switch the bestselling Nintendo’s console ever in Portugal, for example.

Beyond that, Nintendo is always searching for new ways to enhance the fun people can have through their gaming experiences and, in my opinion, Nintendo Switch has a wide range of titles that cater to all kinds of gamers: from traditional gaming adventures like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey to innovative titles like Nintendo Labo or Ring Fit Adventure, we have on Nintendo Switch great expressions of creativity that never stop surprising us.

As someone previously working as a gaming industry journalist, how has that experience helped you prepare for your current role in Nintendo Portugal's marketing team?

Having worked as a gaming industry journalist helped me a lot on understanding the gaming industry dynamics, the retailers and competition landscape and how gamers perceive different titles and the marketing strategies used to promoted them.

The journalism background also granted a “critical eye” around a specific game strengths and weaknesses which facilitates a lot all the efforts on building a sound strategy for a product launch.

Additionally, when dealing on a day-to-day basis with media outlets and influencers, it also gives you the advantage of knowing how it feels to be “on the other side of the fence”, making it easier to identify what journalists need to do better a job on their Nintendo coverage.

Thank you for your time, Jorge Vieira, and best of luck to Nintendo!

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