Last Thursday I started noticing various Pokémon memes popping up all over my social media feeds. At first I didn’t think too much of it but then, while standing at a crosswalk, I heard a group of people discussing how one of them had just caught a Bulbasaur in a Starbucks. What?! That was when I decided to look into this sudden Pokémon craze.
It turns out the all of the Pokémon talk was stemming from Pokémon Go, a mobile game that was released on July 6th 2016. In less than a week it’s popularity skyrocketed and it already has more daily users than Twitter and more engagement than Facebook. The Pokémon franchise first emerged 20 years ago, and the fact that it still has a global following suggests that this game might be around for a while.
The game combines the virtual world with realty. This augmented reality, which is referred to as AR, is based on Google Maps. Players move around the world collecting Pokémon and can fight other players, aka Pokémon trainers. The game is providing a great opportunity for marketers, and they are jumping on it.
Brands are not waiting for the opportunity to purchase in-game advertising. Some have already incorporated Pokémon Go into their marketing. According to AdAge, McDonald’s has embedded the app’s android code into its name and logo. Yelp has added a feature making it easy for users to find nearby PokéStops and T-Mobile is going to use its Tuesday promotion to exempt the game from a years worth of data charges.
Stores and malls have been promoting themselves with Pokéstops on social media in order to increase traffic. The game has allowed businesses to add another dimension to their marketing, which makes them see more social and inviting. JC Penny is another large brand looking at using the game to lure traffic and is also focusing on promoting Pokémon merchandise.
Cable networks and streaming services with rights to the Pokémon franchise are also jumping on the bandwagon, with Cartoon Network looking at the possibility of airing a Pokémon marathon. Brands need to focus their marketing around what is currently relevant to consumers. This game has been an amazing way for businesses to drive potential consumers to their stores and activate sales.
According to ADWEEK, the game has already increased the gaming companies value by $7 billion and has had more than 6 million mentions on Twitter. It’s a business-driving monster that marketers can’t ignore.