How Brands Can Leverage The Pokemon Go Craze


Over the past few weeks the Pokemon Go craze has swept across the globe as the new hot “thing” for everyone to do irrespective of age, gender or location and this augmented reality mobile game has certainly caused a stir in media circles with stories about car crashes and criminal activities.

So how can brands leverage this current craze and how long is it likely to last? I’ll attempt to answer the second part of this question in order to better frame my thoughts on the first part of how brands can leverage it. From a “trend” perspective I see Pokemon Go generating buzz for the next 2 months unless Niantic release some cool new features that re-ignites the initial interest.

Walking around and catching Pokemon, battling at gyms, leveling up and exploring the world are all great but at what point does that get boring and we all return to our daily lives? Candy Crush and Clash of Clans we can play from the sofa without having to trek anywhere and while certain mechanics in other games have a time delay to them they aren’t dependent on being right next to physical locations like in Pokemon Go (living in Abu Dhabi I melt every time I need to go outside to find a Pokestop!).

With that in mind where is the opportunity for Brands? I see two key areas here; retail and experiential. If you have a retail store, like a restaurant or clothes store, it is worth identifying members of your staff who are playing and can provide insight of what is near to your physical location whether a Pokestop or gym. With this knowledge you are in a better position to increase footfall – promote on your store window, across social or with paid campaigns why customers should come and visit you and what the benefit is for them. ‘Come and grab the best sandwich in town while visiting the Pokemon Gym next door.’

I mentioned experiential and I see this slightly differently from the example above. For Brands who already do a lot of social activation or experiential marketing the combination of physical locations and Pokemon Go is a great opportunity. ‘Join #TeamPepsi’ at the Dubai Mall Food Court, use the Pokestop and show us to get a free can of Diet Pepsi’. I can already imagine this type of post happening across social media for forward-thinking Brands and those with new outlets opening.

The key for Brands is to take the time to think about what elements of Pokemon Go resonate with the customer and how a brand, product or location can be aligned with that. Players use Pokestops to get Pokeballs and other items and this refreshes every five minutes so is there an opportunity to get them into your location for an extended period? I’ve seen stories from Australia where real estate properties for sale have been advertised on the basis they are next to a Pokestop or Gym. It really depends on how far you want to go and how many customers you want to catch.

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