If you’ve passed through Terminal 5 at JFK International Airport in the past month, you may have noticed a demonstration of the new Nintendo 3DS system — a portable, three-dimensional gaming experience that doesn’t require the use of 3D glasses. Travelers waiting for their JetBlue flights can relax for a few minutes at the Nintendo “Demo Pod” and sample one of several games as they adjust their eyes to the wonders of 3D gaming. Afterward, they can create their own Mii with the help of a digital camera and have it emailed to themselves. All with no pressure to purchase or with any strings attached.
If travelers happen to pass by without noticing the Demo Pod, ads appear on television screens near the gates inviting them to “take a look inside” the new Nintendo 3DS.
Additionally, JetBlue flights feature Nintendo 3DS ads on each seatback television screen, making travelers aware of the new technology. Perhaps, when they touch down, they’ll drop by the Demo Pod to check it out.
This soft-sell, friendly approach focuses entirely on experiencing the new technology and is a welcome treat for the bored traveler, appealing to gamers and non-gamers alike (my wife even sampled a game for a few minutes).
The apparent strategy in play here is to provide low-pressure exposure in hopes that people will get hooked, do further research, and make a purchase. Considering that the Nintendo 3DS has received favorable reviews, but has fallen short of sales goals, not mentioning its price ($250), this could be a smart move. The captive audience found in an airport terminal makes for a good population to target — even those having no intention to purchase will appreciate the diversion and will leave with a favorable view of the brand that could benefit Nintendo in the long run.