No longer a category that appeals exclusively to teenage boys, video games have broadened their appeal to reach a wider demographic of followers—especially women.  According to the International Game Developers Association, women represent 40% of all gamers and have become a vital component to ensuring the industry’s continued success.  And no video system seems to be winning with women more than Nintendo’s Wii.  A recent Nielsen study found that in addition to appealing to boys age 6-11, Wii is seeing most of its usage from women age 25-34 and is used by more women age 35+ than either Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

It certainly seems as if Wii has hit the sweet spot with female consumers and understanding why the game system is winning with women can help brands across all categories score big with this lucrative market.

Keep it simple

“It’s strength lies in its simplicity and ease of use,” says Janet Riccio, CEO of G23 and EVP of Omnicom Group.  “Women want that from the brands they use.”  In addition to its sleek design (“it’s not black,” says Riccio), Wii is easy to install and ready to play almost instantly giving women the opportunity to move ahead with the other items on their “to do” lists.

Make it social

Just as women have flocked to embrace social networking tools online, they are also looking for brands that give them the opportunity to build community in their offline and “virtual” worlds.  Wii, with its group-oriented games and challenges, meets that need.  “Wii offers a fun, more active social experience for a group, family and/or parent/child team,” says Lisa Johnson, CEO of The Reach Group and co-author of Don’t Think Pink and author ofMind Your X’s and Y’s.   Most games offer multiple player options and the creation of “Miis,” digital avatars that are customized to capture the likeness and personality of the game’s users, gives women the opportunity to feel as if their family and friends are always a part of the game.

Accentuate the positive

You don’t have to be a video game genius or even a professional sports player to participate in most of the Wii game offerings.  “Many of the games get people off the couch and provide a positive playing field—even if some of the family members are more advanced than others,” says Johnson.  While most video games glamorize violence and crime and often use women as sexual objects, Wii provides women and moms with more healthy gaming alternatives such as  aspiring to be the lead singer of your own rock band or moving to the next level of becoming a tennis pro.  Says Jennifer Ganshirt, managing partner of Frank About Women, “It provides endless hours of active, “get off the couch and move” fun that allows our whole family to play together. When Jack asks me to play tennis or bowl with him, I jump at the chance.  He’s happy, I’m happy, we’re moving our butts and we’re not spending any money.  It’s a win-win!!”

Help her achieve personal success

Experts agree that women are drawn to brands that help them achieve success with their lives.  From Wii Fit’s ability to help women meet their personal fitness goals to more abstract games such as Cooking Mama:  Cook Off that teach players new cooking terms and strategies, Wii has managed to bundle the fun of video games into an environment of learning.  In addition, Wii is winning with women in more tangible ways such as providing them an economic alternative to a night out on the town.  Says Riccio, “Family entertainment is especially key in economic downturns.  “At its current cost, a family of three or four can pay out the Wii in about 6 weeks of staying home one night a week”

What other brands are winning with moms?  Attend M2Moms®-The Marketing To Moms Conference to find out the latest trends, campaigns, products that are winning over female consumers.

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