Out of Scope Issue 111: Nintendo Levels Up
Plus: Job satisfaction highs and why America can’t stop snacking
This week surfaced a staggering brand success story in Nintendo, once again proving its enduring ability to captivate audiences. We also witnessed communication challenges up close and personal with two former CEOs at the center of the recent banking crisis. The “snackification” of the U.S. took hold amidst a busy week of congressional testimony and more. In this edition, Hirsch Leatherwood examines how executives and brands are reacting (and responding) to a tasty constant in the market.
💡ON OUR MINDS: Nintendo Levels Up
Nintendo’s latest release could prove to be its biggest and best ever. This last week, the gaming giant released the newest installment of its tentpole Legend of Zelda series: Tears of the Kingdom.
At first glance, it looks like a successful launch of a well-crafted game (Nintendo sold over 10 million units worldwide in its first three days). Upon a second look, you’ll realize that is a lesson in brand excellence. Despite tech limitations of their aging Switch console and sky-high expectations from the series’ previous installment, Nintendo has leveled up and released what is likely the game of the year.
So, how’d they do it? For starters, the same team has been building and innovating Zelda titles since their introduction in 1986, iterating with each release on a shared vision for the series and a consistent brand story.
What’s more, the team has shown they know when to disrupt the status quo and when to play it safe. Their previous release, Breath of the Wild, represented a major shift in gaming, delivering an open-concept game map unrivaled in today’s market. Tears of the Kingdom builds on the success of its predecessor, but doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel.
These upgrades are especially remarkable given their timing. This year, Nintendo has been lagging behind competitors and needed a creative win against Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation, and a vibrant sea of mobile and PC games.
With the game receiving critical acclaim and unprecedented player support, Nintendo remains the final boss in the industry for now, and has, against the odds, been able to 1-UP, and beat itself at its own game.
📡 ON OUR RADAR
In a tale of two former CEOs, both communicated their regrets and insights regarding major bank failures and the aftermath. Former CEO of First Republic Bank, Michael Roffler, testified before Congress to address the industry wide panic sparked by SVB and Signature Bank collapses. The impact caused investor and depositor confidence to plummet. According to Roffler, despite the First Republic Bank being blamed for how they handled the situation, it was unprecedented events (fueled by social media) that sealed the Bank's fate.
Reflecting on SVB's failure, former CEO Greg Becker also highlighted unprecedented events that led to the bank’s shuttering. Despite significant growth and investments in secure assets, he said misconceptions arose when another bank announced its liquidation, triggering a social media fueled bank run that greatly affected employees, clients, and shareholders.
Snack on this: U.S. snack sales surged to $181 billion last year, fueling the success of companies like Hershey and Mondelez International, as major players adapt their businesses to the snacking trend. Kellogg is poised to launch Kellanova, a new global snacking business combining popular brands such as Cheez-It, Pringles, Pop-Tarts, and Rice Krispies Treats. The convenience of snacks aligns with busy millennial and Gen Z lifestyles, contributing to the snack renaissance. Furthermore, the younger generations' purchasing power extends beyond grocery stores, impacting the food industry at large. Grubstreet explores how restaurants are tailoring their menus to attract TikTok food critics and leverage the publicity that accompanies viral dishes.
🚨New Workplace Buzzword Alert 🚨Some say The Great Resignation has given way to The Great Stay. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the number of Americans quitting their jobs declined in recent months. We’re cautious about reading too much into buzzy HR jargon. Still, by available metrics, it looks like overall job satisfaction among U.S. workers—especially those recently changed roles—has hit a high. It’s not an all-encompassing phenomenon though. For example, JPMorgan employees have described a growing “paranoia” at work amidst new rules and people-tracking measures. Our advice? If you’re happy at your job, Great (nothing else needs to follow that word)!
In case you missed these stories.
Bluesky, positioned as the antithesis of Twitter, champions its alternative nature and holds the potential to disrupt mainstream platforms.
Amid a writers' strike, Disney emphasizes sports content during its upfront presentation to engage audiences and attract advertisers.
Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix continues her post-Scandoval victory lap with a New York Times profile.
Thanks for reading,
This week’s newsletter is brought to you by another stuck boat.