Pokémon Go: An Effective Marketing Tool


Pokémon Go has captured the world by augmented reality storm. In its first week it became the most popular game of all time, surpassing app giants such as Facebook, Tinder and Twitter.

In fact, Pokémon Go has become so popular that it now has its own dating app, Nintendo’s stock has
risen by more than 50% AND there are even rumours of a Pokémon Go film. This kind of reaction is categorised as a cultural phenomenon; 2001 had Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s double denim, 2014 had Frozen, and 2016? We have Pokémon Go.

But, you’re a local business owner, why should you be interested in a mobile game?

An app that has a dedicated audience that large, even if it is a game, when used effectively could be one of the most powerful marketing tools of 2016. Imagine if you could harness the Pokémon Go audience and redirect it to your business?

Yeah, but what are the realistic benefits of pop culture marketing I hear you ask. Well, in terms of reaching a larger audience, nothing compares to popular culture marketing – which is now transmitted wider than ever before thanks to our biggest cultural phenomenon, social media. You could also reach potential audience members, thus potentially increasing your client base beyond your current demographic. Alongside this, pop culture marketing will situate your company as fresh, contemporary and having a sense of humour, and as James Corden knows, humour sells.

So, pop culture marketing is a great idea but how can you utilise Pokémon Go specifically for your local business? One animal shelter in America for example, asked on social media for volunteers to clock up their Poké-miles whilst walking dogs. Since then the shelter has had to invest in more leashes to keep up with the demand.

The first thing you could do is show that you are a ‘Pokémon Go friendly’ business, stick a sign outside saying ‘Pokémon hunters welcome’. Or, increase footfall even further by swapping that sign for ‘rare Pokémon inside’ instead.

Another idea is to request a PokéStop for your business location. A PokéStop, for those that don’t know,
is a location where players can collect items such as eggs and more Poké Balls to capture more Pokémon, which refresh every 5 minutes. Having a PokéStop will generate a constant flow of potential clients towards your business.

If you want to guarantee their footfall, reward Pokémon players. Offer a 10% discount for team red players, and switch up the chosen teams each day or week. Another way is by providing something they need, free Wi-Fi or a power source to recharge – but only if they do something for you, such as ‘check-in’ at your business location on social media. T-Mobile have triumphed this idea, in the US they are now offering free unlimited data for a whole year to Pokémon Go players, only if they download their app, which has now rocketed to no.1 on the app store.

You could get the whole brand involved, tell your employees to dress up or organise a Pokéwalk. Promote it on social and encourage the participants to do the same. McDonald’s in Japan have launched a Pokémon Go themed Happy Meal, which have been flying off the shelves – leading to an eye watering 23% increase in their share prices.

As marketers we’re particularly interested in Pokémon Go because it’s innovative. It champions SoLoMo (social local media), which allows us to interact with the real world and the social media world simultaneously. It has offered us a new way to interact and merge reality with our digital world by combining elements of both.

There are plenty of easy, creative and financially viable ways to insert your business into the Pokémon Go narrative and capitalise on pop culture marketing. If you want some more creative ways to market your business, get in touch with us via our website – if not, follow us on Twitter for daily industry tips and news.