Lately it seems like a lot of things from my childhood are coming back into the world, but repurposed for modern times, but with a bit of a twist. On July 4th, I was part of a conversation that relived the whole Pokemon obsession that most of the group had experienced in the late ’90s/early 00s. We joked about the varying levels of involvement- one guy was able to name all of the first 150. Only one person in the group hadn’t partaken in the Pokemon craze, and we teased her about it. 5 days later, Pokemon Go was released. Although we were all pretty into Pokemon as kids, the latest revival wasn’t as appealing to us. I asked my brother if he’d heard of it, and his response was along the lines of “Oh wait, they actually want me to walk around? Nevermind.”
If you’ve been on the internet at all lately, you’ve probably heard about Pokemon Go. Despite it’s lukewarm reception in the group I mentioned above, there are plenty of others who are going just as crazy over this game as the first round. It’s attracting users from all walks of life and is even becoming more popular than Tinder and Snapchat less than a month after release (in terms of mobile apps and usage).
From a marketing perspective, Pokemon Go has some unique opportunities, and unlike a lot of the other fringe networks, businesses have quickly discovered some different ways to get in on the action.
This Instagram Post from Fleet Feet Sports uses the latest fad to create fun marketing messages. You don’t necessarily have to be “in” on the whole thing, but knowing enough to make a decent reference to it in your marketing can get some positive feedback. This applies to any fad/trending topic, too. Knowing a little can go a long way.
A slightly deeper knowledge of the game could lead to a sign like this (there are 3 teams to choose from in the game, giving it another interesting edge). Yes, there’s the risk of alienating some people who aren’t in on the joke, or people who are in but not part of that particular team…That’s a risk you’ll have to decide whether or not is worth taking as a business. Either way, I thought it was pretty clever, or at the very least, humorous. Another thing was a restaurant that offers specials based on what level you’re on in the game, all you have to do is show your server your phone.
Another popular way businesses are getting involved in the game is dropping lures. The art/science/what-have-you of obtaining a lure admittedly doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, but as a business or individual you can acquire them (they’re apparently pretty hard to come by and/or cost some money). The idea is that it attracts Pokemon to a certain area (i.e. your business), thus attracting potential customers. This article does a better job at explaining the whole “lure” thing that I am” http://www.androidauthority.com/use-lures-pokemon-go-704942/. Even the Sydney Opera House tried it out a couple weeks ago...And as a few businesses in NYC have noticed, the little bit of money they spent on a lure was returned seven times by attracting enough people in to the storefront (full story here).
So whether or not you decide to take advantage of the Pokemon Go market in the near future, it’s an interesting look at how a new platform can be used in unexpected ways for businesses. And then there’s this:
If you are in on the joke, be in on the joke… or ignore it. Being a poor sport gets you no points… in gaming, marketing, or life. Where will you ‘Go’?