Marketing on Pokémon Go

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Marketing ideas we are seeing and will witness in the future of Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go is nothing short of an overnight success. A childhood dream come true for many who first played on their GameBoys, response to the game was predictably apocalyptic.

Case in point: Random (and hilarious) stories of people congregating at Gym locations, and an Australian who unfortunately got sacked for ranting about the game.

Within a week of its release, the mobile game has already broken multiple records. Pokémon Go has more daily users than Twitter, and has more downloads than Tinder on Android in the US. Its parent company, Nintendo even saw its shares soaring by 53%, gaining $7 billion in value.

via Onsizzle

This augmented reality platform has also brought users to their feet, and to the doorsteps of businesses. Fitness PSAs aside, the app has become a marketing goldmine for companies, riding on its popularity or their location as Poke-landmarks. Although the game hasn’t placed much emphasis on providing marketing solutions yet, much potential exists in its geolocation features. Here, we look at some Pokémon Go themed marketing strategies, and what marketers might expect from the app in time.

Gotta catch em’ all: How brands are capturing attention with Pokemon Go.


1. Creating Incentives

via Gamespot 

The mobile game uses a player’s GPS location and camera to map out an alternate world. One feature of this mapping tool is the appearance of Pokémon, as well as Gyms and Poke-stops. (FYI: Gyms are physical landmarks that act as a space where users can train and fight with other users; Poke-stops are places where players can stock on in-game necessities, such as Poke-balls.) These areas are usually chosen for their significance in the community.

Screenshot of DK Donut’s Facebook Page 

Brands have thus been using this geolocation function to attract and retain audiences – by giving incentives for players to stay. Cashing in on their Poke-stop/Gym status, businesses like DK Donuts in the US are riding on increased footfall by introducing exclusive themed products, such as a Poke-ball shaped donuts. Others have even announced charging stations in their spaces, attracting players to come to rest and recharge.

Screenshot of L.A. Metro’s Pokemon Go Twitter page 

For companies not as lucky, marketing on Pokémon Go becomes more indirect. Brands are joining the conversation on social platforms like Twitter, encouraging user-generated content and providing value adding info. For example, L.A. Metro has set up a Twitter account that provides tips for players on capturing Pokémon at their metro stops or trains.

By creating additional value upon what is represented in the game, brands are making their voices heard in a way their audience can appreciate and relate.

2. ‘Lure’ing Customers In 

It is safe to assume Poke-mania has not only affected teenagers and millienials, but shop owners as well. Perhaps totally unintended, Pokémon Go’s Lure Module has been a boon for brick-and-mortar businesses. Initially utilised to increase a players chances by spawning more Pokémon in a location, businesses have been using this in-game component to increase their own chances for sales as well.

via Dorkly

With each Lure costing US$0.99 for 30 minutes, almost any physical location is a source of hyper-local advertising for brands. This can be coupled with other marketing tools, such as using social media to announce themed promotions. As such, many small enterprises are using Lure as a ‘magnet’ for drawing in and engaging with players about their own content.

Screengrab of Zoe’s Kitchen Twitter post 

For instance, Zoe’s Kitchen in Texas, US, has a $25 gift card up for grabs for anyone who catches a Pokémon on its premises and tweets it; The additional use of a ‘Lure’ item in game helps them indirectly broadcast this message to interested players on the map.

The Future of Poke-Marketing

via Virtualcrunch

Though these marketing solutions mentioned seem to be the result of people’s entrepreneurial spirit, the future is bright for businesses. According to John Hanke, Chief Executive of Niantic (the developers of Pokémon Go), developments are underway to include advertising functions within the game.

The platform might soon introduce Sponsored Locations, where brands can pay to be featured on the map. Considering the game’s effectiveness in increasing footfall, companies might be charged on a cost per visit basis. Another potential marketing idea includes bringing in exclusive sponsored content, such as custom skins or branded Poke-balls. Hopefully with future improvements such as a chat function and other Poke-locations, more avenues will be available for marketers to tap on.

With Poke-mania reaching fever pitch, we can only imagine the frenzy when Pokémon Go goes live everywhere else. Sadly, the app is currently only available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and most recently, Germany. As we wait impatiently for the game to reach our shores, will it prove to be a marketing game-changer in Singapore? Tell us your thoughts!

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Edited & Illustrated by: Script Consultants Pte Ltd

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