Is it wise to take advantage of a new fad like Pokémon GO?

We’ve seen concepts go viral and have immediate impact in various ways – the original iPhone, the Harlem Shake, and many #TrendingHashtags, just to name a few. With Pokémon GO representing the latest craze taking over, an advertising agency like ours must consider if it can – and should –be utilized in our clients’ advertising efforts.

Pokemon GO has captured the world's attention - but can/should you leverage it for your busienss?The answer, many times, is yes.  However, it has to be done in a genuine way that doesn’t seem coercive or like a poorly-camouflaged sales pitch.

The goal is often to generate goodwill with your customer base.  For example, many businesses participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  We saw community leaders, congressmen, business owners, and staff members of all levels take part in the fun and the good cause the challenge supported, and people loved it.

From a marketing perspective, it’s a lot easier to get people to come into your store or visit your website if they like you. Making your business relevant to what people care about in a way that’s received positively helps build that reputation.

In the instance of something like Pokémon GO, there have already been clever marketing moves implemented – like paying money to attract more Pokémon in a store. As notes:

“Figuring out whether your business is a PokeStop or Gym is the first thing you should do. PokeStops and Gyms attract foot traffic without any effort  – players flock to them for rewards and to battle other player, and they can be leveraged for massive sales if you know how.”

Ultimately, the developer’s augmented reality algorithms determine what your business and others are, and this will have a dramatic impact on how well you can leverage it. Thinking through your target audience/customer is also a vital component – who’s playing the game? Will they be likely to walk in your store and find something of interest?

Who's playing Pokemon GO in our office, anyway?

Wait, who’s playing this in our office?

It’s also worth noting that in this particular instance, you can’t pay to become a Pokéstop or a Gym (places where people congregate to play the game, for those who don’t know), so it’s very much luck of the draw if a prime marketing opportunity has fallen into your lap. There are reports of the ability to pay to be a sponsored location in the works, but details are sparse at this time.

Still, it’s worth noting how this craze can inform us all of how to approach the next big thing when it happens. With the initial rush of enthusiasm for the game having already hit its fever pitch, it remains to be seen how long businesses can continue to capitalize. As one business owner has said: “Eventually the novelty will wear off. There will always be diehards, but it’s no different than the Trivial Pursuit craze.” But with the game Ingress – which much of the Pokémon GO mapping stems from – continues to have millions of everyday players.

The moral of the story:  it’s a good idea to stay on top of the latest pop culture trends.  But before jumping on the bandwagon and investing time and advertising funds for the craze, it’s important to assess whether or not it truly makes sense for your business. And we’re here to help!

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