Nintendo 64 ads: Condoms

Towards the end of its lifespan, the Nintendo 64 had a strange detour in its marketing strategy in which it decided to associate them with condoms. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

Conker’s Bad Fur Day condoms:

conker-bad-fur-day-condoms

Now, my only reaction to this is of course a loud and resounding “WHAT?!”

After catching my breath and petting a dozen kittens, let me add some context to this. This wasn’t an advertisement per se, but rather a promotion at two parties held during spring break at Panama City and Texas’s South Padre Island, USA.

They were basically these stands set up with a whole bunch of stuff there to promote Conker’s Bad Fur Day including bags of peanuts labelled ‘Nuts’ and a game station where you could play CBFD before its release.

Now, if that’s not enough for your lust of rubbery birth control, here’s another marketing ploy involving condoms.

German 1080 Snowboarding condom ad

german-1080-snowboarding-condom-ad

Transcript: English

Top: Condom with “XXXtra Large” printed all over it

Nintendo 64
Feel everything

  • Happiness
  • Depression
  • Fearlessness
  • Euphoria: The feeling you get when playing 1080 Snowboarding
  • Frustration
  • High spirits
  • Anxiety
  • Liveliness

Screenshots of 1080 Snowboarding at the bottom.

Transcript: German
  • Freude
  • Niedergeschlagenheit
  • Furchtlosigkeit
  • Euphorie: Nue eines Gelühle, die Sie beim Spielen 1080 Snowbording erleiben
  • Frust
  • Übermut
  • Angst
  • Ausgelassenheit
[The text at the bottom is illegible]

Now this one is quite a bit harder to decipher, and that’s not just because it’s in German. The ad comes in what seems to be two parts of the same page. The top section is the bit with the condom that reads “Nintendo 64 / Feel everything”. What I presume this is talking about is the Rumble Pak and how it was widely promoted as being the most realistic system because of it.

The bottom of the ad shows a list of feelings that one might associate with playing a video game. The one highlighted in this case is 1080 Snowboarding as ‘euphoria’.

The bottom of the ad is too much of a JPEG to be read at all, with the compression artefacts and all that.

Conclusion

Back in the late 90’s, there was catching up with the Sony PlayStation in terms of getting the attention of the now older NES generation. You could see this in action with other marketing efforts like the N64 Jingle Bells ad as an attempt at getting more buzz with the now more mature audiences.

I feel that they both worked, but for different reasons. The Conker’s Bad Fur Day condoms campaign worked because it went right into the audience they were targeting: piss-drunk college students. Since CBFD is a game about a squirrel with a hangover, it fits perfectly.

The other one, not so much. It looks like it’s two different ads that have nothing to do with each other. One is alluding to sex and realism while the other is pointing towards extreme emotions while playing a game.If you’re still in the mood for some fucking N64 style, you can always just have a look at Ben Marsh’s Game Boy Condoms.

Nintendo 64 ads: Condoms
Nintendo 64 ads: Condoms
Believe it or not, Nintendo actually included condoms in its advertising for the Nintendo 64. Why would they do such a thing?

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