Nintendo backs Game Boy DS with £10m promo drive

LONDON - Nintendo is to back the debut of handheld games console Game Boy DS with a major promotional push, in a bid to trump arch-rival Sony's introduction of its first handheld console, the PlayStation Portable.

Sales promotion shop Geoff Howe, integrated agency Cake, media agency Starcom Motive and digital shop Lateral are understood to be retained for work in the UK.

The pan-European campaign, likely to involve adspend of more than £10m, will begin in March. The launch of PSP is tipped to take place in the same month.

Nintendo has been buoyed in recent months by DS sales in Japan and the US. According to analysts, it has outstripped its own expectations by selling 1.2m units since launch in late-November.

Shipment targets have been raised by 40% and sales estimates for the year have been increased to 2.8m units.

PSP hit shelves this week in its launch market of Japan, with an initial 200,000 units. It intends to have 3m consoles on the market by March 2005.

A Nintendo spokesman confirmed that it was planning a 'significant marketing campaign' to support the launch of DS, but declined to comment on speculation that the firm, which has traditionally used Leo Burnett Milan as its ad agency, had contacted other shops to develop the campaign.

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