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Joining New Kids on the Block and Doc Martens, Pokémon characters are popping up for a comeback, with everyone from Gen-Z adolescents to Baby Boomer moms obsessed over the new Pokémon Go app. Nintendo’s stock has gone up 25% in just two weeks. A company previously climbing through the trenches of handheld gaming consoles is now bursting onto the digital marketplace, specifically with mobile ad targeting opportunities, with a major partnership that blindsided developers and an app that instantaneously captured a mass audience.
Tapping into users’ physical location and allowing them to interact with complete strangers is nothing new, but can we say we’ve seen it to the extent of players jumping out of their vehicles mid-highway or trespassing on someone’s property to capture a virtual creature? The app needs to remain consistently popular in order to achieve true substantiation, but it has already created major revenue potential through both in-app purchases and targeted mobile advertising. Not to mention branding partnerships advertisers can benefit from now that developers have introduced sponsored locations. It also pulls in a new audience of patrons that were not familiar with the Pokémon franchise back when it was just trading cards.
Unlike Candy Crush, Farmville, and Angry Birds, Pokémon Go boasts augmented reality (which has been utilized before, but not sensationalized at this level for a beginner mobile app). This is an arena that has been slowly rising since early 2015 and has seen an 86% investment increase this year alone1.
Whether you’ve captured all your characters or have been lured into larceny, no one can deny the lasting power of the technology itself. For many, that’s what the appeal of this craze is about. “While Pokémon Go might be dominating the cultural zeitgeist, the field of AR is far larger—and has been gaining momentum for some time2.”
For marketers, it’s more about the user experience translating into selling opportunities through targeted mobile advertising. “I don’t think Pokémon Go is about [augmented reality or] adding more online advertising in new format... It’s about the next big buzzword in retail: Experience. And. Entertainment. And, most importantly, doing it in a way that’s ownable and conversion-driving for our brands ... That’s the magic.3”
Whether you play the game yourself, or roll your eyes every time you hear someone at Starbucks exclaim, “I just caught a Pikachu!” the rate at which this game has swept not only the nation, but the international community as well, is quite impressive. With more U.S. citizens playing Pokémon Go than on Twitter4, writing this app off as just another viral fad would mean missing out on an expansive digital reach.
1 CB Insights, eMarketer.
3 Amy Madonia, TotalRetail.
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