VANCOUVER, B.C. - Front-page headlines as the country's most powerful politician apparently doesn't make you more recognizable than an animated Italian plumber.
According to a Harris/Decima survey commissioned by Nintendo of Canada, more people in Calgary, Toronto and Halifax can identify a photo of Nintendo's iconic video game character, Mario, than can identify a photo of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Even in Calgary, which includes Harper's home riding of Calgary Southwest, Mario was more recognizable (47 per cent vs. 41 per cent). More women across Canada were also able to identify Mario than the country's top politician (66 per cent vs. 63 per cent) and nationwide, the animated plumber is just as well-known as the prime minister. Both were recognized by 70 per cent of respondents in five major centres when asked to identify photographs by name.
Mario, who launches his newest title Super Mario GalaxyTM for Nintendo's WiiTM, also outshone opposition leader Stephane Dion. Less than half of Canadians surveyed - 48 per cent - were able to identify Dion's photo, which included a Canadian flag in the background. In fact, in Montreal, which includes Dion's home riding of Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, more people recognized Mario than the Liberal party leader (78 per cent vs. 71 per cent).
"Canadian politicians are lucky Mario doesn't have his Canadian citizenship and could campaign for office," said Ron Bertram, general manager of Nintendo of Canada. "It's no surprise that Mario is more recognized than high-profile politicians: he's entertained generations of Canadians and inspires only happy thoughts."
"Super Mario Galaxy for Wii will further boost Mario's stature in Canada" said Bertram. "Moms and dads will have some great Mario fun alongside their kids."
Nintendo's Mario character is the bestselling video game franchise of all time, selling more than 200-million units worldwide. Mario has appeared in more than 200 games since his debut in the original Donkey Kong® in 1981. He first headlined a title in 1983 in Mario Bros.® and soon after in the revolutionary Super Mario Bros.® in 1985 on the Nintendo Entertainment System® (NES).
Super Mario Galaxy, available across Canada with gameplay in English and French, is the latest innovative title in the popular franchise, using unique motion-based controls in a gravity-defying adventure. Super Mario Galaxy brings Mario to the Wii generation - young or old, gamer or not. And with the game's innovative "co-star mode," even the most inexperienced players can join in the action.