Can AR games like Pokemon Go be the next big thing for marketers ?

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The recent rage the augmented reality game Pokemon Go has generated has broken many records. On a daily basis the app is being used twice as more as Facebook. I am sure Facebook didnt see it coming, actually no body did. The insanely popular app from Niantic Labs has the most first-week downloads since Apple launched its iOS app store eight years ago.

During its first week, Pokemon GO users spent 75 minutes per day playing, compared to only 35 minutes on the Facebook’s Android app (Source: Forbes.com citing report from 7Park Data).
During the same time period, Youtube saw a drop in usage by 9% and Snapchat by 18%. Not only US, gradually the game has really caught up the nerves around the globe.

Staggering numbers and popularity of the game has got marketers all ears over if this could be the next big thing for them to ride upon.

Industry Take
Marketers are already looking for opputunities to integrate with Pokemon Go suspecting that the game may increase footfall in their retail outlets. Indian retailers, especially the global quick-service restaurants and cafe chains, are watching the space closely. Ravi Jaipuria, chairman of Gurgaon-headquartered RJ Corp (whose group company, Devyani International, is a franchisee of brands such as Pizza Hut, KFC and Costa Coffee), says interest among Indian retailers is high. “The game hasn’t been officially launched in India, so many are in wait-and-watch mode. But, if it can help drive footfalls, retailers will come on board.”

Possible Marketing Integrations
Possible Integrations could be, exclusive Pokemons for the QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants) which can make people come hunting for them. Its a no branier that the QSRs would couple this with exclusive ‘Pokemon’ offerings in case you found out one. Similar integrations will hold good for all retail formats and will be readily adopted provided AR games contunue to have such level of engagement.
The next level of integration can bring ‘’branded’ Pokemons on the streets and their reach could be unmatched to any BTL activity the brand might be doing.

Pitfalls
Though engagement level of such games could be high on the first go, but will it sustain, is a question. We have seen a lot of such fads come and go and betting big early can take a toll on the brand and the organizations expenditure.
Health hazards leading to the game have already started to pop up with Pokemon Go. If goverment jumps in, as in many countries already, it may kill the fun and we would then hardly see any takes for these games.

No matter all marketers are currently waiting and watching but this has certainly raised eye brows of all of them around the world and I wont be surprised if some of them are wandering on the roads trying to catch their Pokemon.

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