by Reuben Kelly

It’s no secret that Pokémon Go has been widely adopted across the U.S., and has spurred a great deal of excitement across the globe. Since its launch, the mobile app has topped the charts in both downloads as well as in app revenue earned. There are even events spurring across the nation where fellow Pokémon Go players gather together to make new friends while catching digital monsters together. Pokémon fans aren’t the only people getting excited about the game: upon the game’s release, marketers and advertisers have found themselves with fun new ways to attract customers to their brands.

Brands have been finding ways to ride the coattails of Pokémon Go’s success in order to bolster their own business. The goal of the game is to catch all 151 Pokémon as you travel throughout the world. The game also allows you to purchase and use lures in order to attract Pokémon to specific locations for 30 minutes per lure. Many businesses such as bars and restaurants are using these lures not only to lure in Pokémon to catch, but to also lure in customers to their locations. Businesses are making it easy for customers to catch Pokémon, and in return customers find themselves at those locations more often, and for longer periods of time depending on how many lures they choose to use. In addition to this, brands are also rewarding Pokémon go players for their hard in-game work, offering them specialty promotions and discounts as they level their in-game avatars up. These investments in “Pokémarketing” have earned many a business increased customer attention, customer traffic, and of course, increased profits.

While it’s very cool that Pokémarketing has been successful for many businesses, it’s equally cool to understand where that success comes from. On its own, Pokémon is a 20 year old game that has attracted and retained many fans over its lifetime. Pokémon Go took that rich lineage and created the opportunity for new and old fans alike to enjoy catching Pokémon as if they were real, amplifying the already present elements of adventure, surprise, camaraderie, and competition. When a business or brand runs a Pokémarketing campaign, they align themselves in the consumers’ eye with the same aspects of Pokémon that have drawn fans to them for the past 20 years. For example, when a business offers a promotion for one of the three teams you can join in the game, they tap into the feeling of camaraderie in belonging consumers get from playing the game, therein attracting them to their brand. In other words, Pokémarketing allows brands to be rewarded the same positive emotional response from consumers that Pokémon Go receives, thus resulting in Pokémarketing being wildly successful. 

Pokémon Go hasn’t just shook up the mobile gaming world, but created fun new ways for brands to attract customers to their brands. It will be interesting to see what crafty ideas marketers come up with next. Perhaps we will see business tap into the competitive spirit. For example, we may see reoccurring promotions from business that reward customers in game competitive spirit, offering discounts to any member of a team that currently controls nearby gyms or the most gyms in a region. Whatever the case may be, with Pokémon Go and Pokémarketing, it’s looking like everyone is trying to “catch ‘em all”!