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Three weeks ago a game that is changing the landscape of gaming as we speak was released. Pokémon GO is the most talked-about game right now, with statistics indicating its popularity above that of even Twitter. Millions of people around the world are exploring their towns and cities looking for new Pokémon’s to catch, train and battle. People of every age group are becoming increasingly obsessed with this game, whether for nostalgia or its entertainment value. It has become quickly apparent that this augmented reality game is unlike any we’ve seen before, with the exception of Ingress, in bringing people out onto the streets. The marketing opportunities Pokémon GO can provide are still being discovered every day.
PokéStops are local landmarks that players can find to receive rewards. They can also be used to “Lure” Pokémons into the surrounding areas. This is where businesses have started making money. Right now, you cannot buy your business a PokéStop. However, businesses that happen to have PokéStops are using it to “Lure” even more players in. For example, some restaurants in Melbourne are buying Lures to attract hundreds of players looking to collect Pokémon, like Jigglypuff or Squirtle. Once, and if, Niantic starts making PokéStops available for sale to businesses, they can guarantee clients and pedestrians for as long as the hype of the game lasts. Other businesses are using Pokémon GO as a reward system. They are offering discounts to trainers who have collected a certain set of Pokémons, to boosts foot traffic and sales.
While mobile data sales are not soaring because of the amount of data consumption required by the game, the sale of battery packs has skyrocketed. Although Pokémon GO uses about the same amount of mobile data as when you surf the web, it does drain your phone’s battery significantly. Mobile companies in areas with Pokémon GO are using this craze to increase their sales of accessories. They are also increasing foot traffic to their stores and outlets by offering free phone charging stations, in the hopes to increase their brand awareness.
Other Marketing Strategies
One company has bought the domain name pokewalk.com and intends to open a service whereby customers can pay to have their phones taken for a walk. Others are buying Pokémon Lures and selling tickets to the area where they are set. Some advertising companies are even putting up billboards looking to hire trainers – all to let their clients know that they are in sync with what is going on in the world. The sale of Pokémon-themed gear and toys will most likely pick up again as well.
Pokémon GO has skyrocketed in popularity since its release, and it has only been released in 4 countries so far. People are trying to cash in on the popularity of the game while the hype lasts. Even though the game has not launched yet on a global scale, the marketing opportunities it offers are vast.
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School