Pokemon Go is so popular it seems understating it to call it a phenomenon. Whatever you call it, the game has urged kids (and kids at heart) to become creative in how they participate. Brands are likewise thinking outside of the box in how they can take advantage of the Pokémon Go craze.
In-app ad opportunities are currently nonexistent for Pokémon Go (save for a partnership with McDonalds in Japan), so brands have to think about adjacent opportunities.
As Aki Technologies co-founder Scott Swanson told Adweek:
It became clear to us that it wasn’t going to become an ad-supported application, so if we were going to build something to take advantage of this momentum, then it needed to be about reaching people when they were out in the world playing Pokémon and find a brand that wanted to develop creative that would appeal to people and get their imagination going.
Swanson was right that in-app opportunities didn’t exist now, but they will eventually come to the brand.
The FT interviewed John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon Go creator Niantic, and wrote this:
Alongside in-app payments, “there is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations”, Mr Hanke said, where companies “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic”.
It’s quite simple, actually, because of the predictability of the game. Users are going to be walking around using their mobile phones to catch Pokémon, so brands just need to be where they are. Here are some brands and what they’re doing:
- Stonyfield Yogurt targets “Pokestops” with mobile advertising. Partnering with mobile ad tech company Aki Technologies, Stonyfield launched geotargeted advertising (10K locations) in apps often used in tandem with Pokémon Go: maps and weather (Adweek)
- French retailer But (in tandem with agency) rewarded any customers who caught a Pokémon and proved it by taking a screen grab) received a 10% discount. (Campaign)
- Russian Bank Sberbank has created a free Pokémon Go insurance for players who get injured playing the game (RT)
- Many local restaurants and food and beverage chains are using their outside chalkboards to attract players (and social media links)
Brands locations near Pokestops are even reaping with the benefits of Pokémon Go without doing anything, according to Placed.