Nintendo of America, known for its unusual and creative marketing campaigns, partnered with S&G Flowers/USA in 2001 to attract green-fingered gardeners to their new GameCube system and Shigeru Miyamoto’s new gardening-cum-RTS title, Pikmin. The result of this collaboration was a new type of flower called bacopa cabana, which bore a close resemblance to the flowers that sprouted from the titular Pikmin’s little bonces. The colloquial name for bacopa cabana is the ‘Pikmin Flower.’ Peter Main, Nintendo’s Executive Vice President at the time, said in a press release, “demonstrates that at the core of Nintendo is creativity […] We used a variety of innovative and unusual activities to build anticipation for the Nintendo GameCube. Naming a flower after a video game is just one more way Nintendo is ‘seeding’ creative marketing.”
The campaign was unique and creative, and while there are no data to show if it convinced any gardeners to swap their wheelbarrows for WaveBirds, it remains a fun little example of video game marketing permeating into the real world.
Growing Pikmin Flowers
Although the promotion ended more than two decades ago, the Pikmin Flower is not patented and is super easy to cultivate and look after. These flowers are hardy and have been known to withstand temperatures as low as -1°C. However, given the rarity of the Pikmin Flower seeds, gardeners can still grow something very similar. Sutera cordata is closely related to bacopa cabana and is an excellent substitute. The seeds of sutera cordata, also known as Snowstorm Giant Snowflake or Bacopa Snowtopia, are pretty easy to find online.
According to Garden Design, these dainty flowers provide summer-long color, combine well with other flowers, and are virtually carefree, making them a good choice for even the most amateur plant parent. They also score highly in deer resistance, so anyone who lives in a Disney animation will presumably be fine too.
With Pikmin 4 planting roots on Nintendo Switch soon, now is the perfect time to start growing these lovely flowers. One creative fan even fashioned a suitable planter out of a Nintendo GameCube, making it a unique addition to their garden.
Nintendo’s Pikmin Flower campaign was a creative marketing strategy that demonstrated the company’s innovative and unusual approach to building anticipation for its products. The Pikmin Flower may no longer be readily available, but gardeners can still grow something very similar in sutera cordata, which is easy to find and care for. These lovely flowers will be an excellent addition to any garden, especially for those who are fans of the popular Pikmin video game series.