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    Pokemon, schmokemon

    OK, OK, OK. I get it. There may be some of you die-hard gamers thinking what on earth is she banging on about? How rude? Does she not get it??

    Whilst I will happily put my hands up and proudly claim to not have been sucked into the whole Pokemon hype, I am willing to admit that the whole concept has brought out the innately curious marketeer in me, questioning how can I piggyback off the hype for some of my clients?

    For SME’s, there appears to be a quick win through the implementation of ‘lures’. Apparently (and I state apparently because I haven’t tested nor have I tried to play the game), businesses can buy lures to try and entice people to their premises. I am not going to attempt to explain the benefits of this, as a simple search will draw out a multitude of articles already written on the subject matter.

    Instead, what I am keen to understand is whether the nostalgic game coupled by Augmented Reality (AR) has relaunched in the industry.

    I have always been a fan of AR and been saddened to see the lack of uptake from brands and businesses globally. Yes, there have been some nice campaigns by brands such as John Lewis, Lexus and one of my favourites, Toys ‘R’ Us however, it feels as though that after the hype around AR, the uptake has slowly decreased, possibly because the use of AR applications has never really gone mainstream. Could this be because, the campaigns launched never truly offered the end user any value? Yes, they may have made some of us go ‘ooh’ but did they actually do anything for us?

    Bringing this back to Pokemon Go, I have been firing questions around at the Unity office to determine why it is so great:

    • Its Pokemon – generational ‘thing’ apparently
    • Gets players out the house – albeit, still glued to their devices
    • It’s more than just a game – it feels (wait for it) ‘real’
    • Brings people together. Apparently, going on a Pokemon hunt is considered a ‘date’
    • Its different. There is nothing else like it at the moment and the timing is great to go outside

    Yes, there is the nostalgic element which, considering their marketing, actually began April Fools Day, 2014. But the key point to hone in on is the fact that the game actually makes us do something. Its socially acceptable and encourages players to get out in the real world and chase these little creatures! Some of the guys here have come in the office next morning and claimed to have met new friends, all with the same shared interest…after walking 12 miles in a day!

    So how is this even relatable to marketing and how can we, as marketeers, learn a thing or two from this Pokemon phenomenon? Check out my tips below:

    Soft launch campaigns – test out your audience to determine success. Instead of spending money on a quirky campaign, do a beta launch. Seed out a video. Whatever it is, remember, Niantics April Fools Day video in 2014:

    Merge realities – combining AR with reality is pretty sexy right now. There is a raw consumer hunger for new technologies that can and should be leveraged. Ask yourself if your campaign crosses boundaries and channels. If the answer is yes, consider how you can leverage the current trend and grab consumer data. This data, should become invaluable to follow up marketing efforts.

    Add value – Pokemon Go offers players the chance to get up from the sofa and break free from the dark into the wondrous outdoors. Consider how and why your campaign will add value to your consumer and ensure your marketing activity outlines the benefits – not the features.

    Consider timings – the game was released in Summer, when the weather is glorious and majority of under 18s on their Summer holidays. Perfect. Would the game be so appealing over Winter? I guess we’ll have to wait and see! Make sure you time your campaign release/launch in accordance with seasons and public holidays and have a plan in place to evolve the campaign and continue engaging with your audience.

    I am sure there is so much more to the game than meets the eye – either way, Nintendo shares have increased, the nation is exercising and the platform has finally launched AR into the mainstream. Yay!


    Pokemon, schmokemon

    by Pete1 Frost time to read: 3 min