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Promotional Consideration: Real-life ninjas flippin' out


Promotional Consideration is a weekly feature about the Nintendo DS advertisements you usually flip past, change the channel on, or just tune out.

Our featured item for this Easter Sunday, the North American commercial for Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword, already made the rounds earlier this week, but if, like us, you're a fan of stealth assassins, that's probably of little concern to you. Put on your cleanest black jumpsuit -- make sure to run a lint-roller on it first to pull off all that cat hair -- and sneak past the post break for the video.



Real. Ultimate. Power.

The best way to advertise a video game about ninjas? Use real-life ninjas, of course. This strategy applies to pretty much any product, actually. Washing machines? Brake pad replacement services? A Baby Alive Wets 'N Wiggles doll? Advertise them with a squad of silent shinobis, and we guarantee they'll sell like gangbusters.

Tecmo opted to promote Dragon Sword in Japan with a pair of ninja-less commercials (CG ninjas don't count!), and the game's sales so far reflect that error in judgment. According to initial reports, the action-adventure title sold only 4,000 copies in its first day on the market! 4,000! To put that into perspective, Pokémon Ranger: Battonage sold 127,000 copies on the same day.

These disappointing numbers could have been avoided if Tecmo had only produced a commercial more in line with Ninja Gaiden II's (NES) Japanese spot:


"More exciting and thrilling than any other TV GAME"

"You will see INCREDIBLE BATTLE"

"ULTIMATE ACTION GAME"

Does it get any better than this? As with the Dragon Sword US ad, this 1990 piece efficiently conveys the game's three selling points with its live-action ninjas:
  • There are ninjas in this video game
  • Ninjas are awesome
  • This video game is awesome
What more do you need to know?

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