What's in a name? A lot when it comes to WiiAnd now the back story on that crazy name.
When Nintendo announced in April 2006 that it was changing the code name of its forthcoming console from Revolution to its permanent moniker, Wii, the world said, "What?"
Nintendo executives can't be that naive, right? They do know what people will think of, right? Wait, is it maybe just a strategy to build buzz?
No, yes and sort of.
Nintendo was not naive. In fact, it hired a respected branding and naming giant, Interbrand, to come up with the name (along with dozens of others that were discarded).
And, yes, Nintendo executives did know the urinary connotation of the word. They were prepared for the jokes and snickers but also knew those would run their course.
And while executives insist the name wasn't meant purely to inspire buzz, the selection and announcement were indeed wellfounded in strategy. Wii the name cannot be shortened or bastardized.
Wii the name refers to the inclusiveness and we-ness of playing together. Wii the name has two i's that physically mimic two people or two remotes. And Wii the name is global -- it's pronounced the same way in most any language.
As for the announcement, it was the timing that was strategic. It came just weeks before the console's first public unveiling at E3, the most important gaming show of the year. The intent was to let the comments and snickers rise up and then die down by the time it came to checking out the hardware and software, says George Harrison, senior VPmarketing and corporate communications at Nintendo of America.
"We knew that people were going to make fun of it," says Perrin Kaplan, VP-marketing and corporate affairs. "We knew there would be a little rainstorm before the sun showed up again."
And, they ask, a year and a half later, can you imagine it being called anything else?
Well, no, actually, Wii can't