You’re probably tired of hearing about the Pokémon Go hype. Or maybe you aren’t, since you’re a tad obsessed yourself. Either way, we’ve got some news — it’s not going away just yet. In fact, it’s just getting started. And marketers are taking note.
Pokémon Go exploded when it first became available as a mobile game and quickly went viral without big marketing efforts in July 2016. In less than seven days, it surpassed Instagram and Snapchat with over 6 million mentions on social media. The game also generated more downloads and revenue than any other iPhone app after two days of its launch, making it the no. 1 free iPhone app to this day.
With brands everywhere hopping on the Pokémon bandwagon, agencies and marketers are scrambling to create strategies involving augmented reality that will find the same success.
Take a look at five brands with clever Pokémon Go marketing strategies:
1. Stonyfield Yogurt: Targeted Mobile Ads
Businesses are pretty limited when it comes to advertising on the app’s platform, which means they have to think outside the box if they want to take advantage of the game’s momentum. Stoneyfield, a yogurt brand, teamed up with mobile advertising company Aki Technologies to do just that.
The company began to strategize with Aki Technologies on advertising potentials and developed a mobile campaign with targeted game-themed ads for Pokémon Go players with the tagline “Time to catch a Stonyfield.”
So, how did it work? Stonyfield’s app was served to users within five minutes of visiting a Pokéstop. Since apps aren’t allowed within the Pokémon app, they would appear when the user opened a different app.
Each ad links to a store-locator feature on Stonyfield’s website that finds nearby retailers and stores that sell the brand’s yogurt.
Aki Technologies was able to match location data from 10,000 Pokéstops across the U.S. and uncover which apps are most frequently used by consumers. The data collected will also be able to tell where people are playing the Pokémon Go game in order to run even more advanced campaigns in the future.
2. Lyft: Fare Discounts
With Pokémon drawing millions of players into the streets of America, it’s no wonder why transportation companies would want to find clever ideas to attract players as they go.
Lyft was quick to take advantage of the Pokémon craze, offering 20 percent discounts to Pokémon Goers traveling from spot to spot. The idea behind “Ride to Catch ‘Em All” was simple: Lyft hoped Pokémon Go users would use its service for their travel needs in the future. The promotional materials appeared on a landing page for Lyft’s website where users sign in, but there was one catch: players had to act fast, since the offer began on July 18 and ended on July 24.
With the game pushing people to explore new destinations in various cities, a Lyft ride can certainly help get them to places quicker and may be more reliable (and safer) than the personal chauffeurs making money offering rides for players roaming the streets.
3. T- Mobile: Promotional Programs
Whoever said catching Pokémon would be free? Gaming all day can quickly eat through that data. That’s where T-Mobile stepped in with a clever offer gamers couldn’t refuse: T-Mobile Tuesdays.
T-Mobile Tuesdays is a promotional program where the company hands out deals and discounts through its app. The weekly freebies include treats, games and now a year of free Pokémon Go data. #Winning.
In its first week, promotion winners also received a free Pokémon Go care package, which included a free Wendy’s Frosty, 50 percent off of certain mobile accessories (including battery packs) and a free Lyft ride up to $15.
4. Huge Café: Lures
Lures are a popular Pokémon Go feature that were designed to increase the chances of a creature encounter wherever you go (for a certain amount of time). Naturally, it was only a moment of time before a business took advantage of it.
Ad agency Huge hopped on the idea. Huge Café, the agency’s own cafe, is located between two very busy PokéStops. The agency placed lures in the area in order to spawn Pokémon to a new location. The result? More traffic and more sales.
The café now even offers phone charging stations and special cards that allow customers to get a free steamed bun if they captured a Pokémon. Free treats and additional battery life? You can’t go wrong there.
5. McDonald’s: Sponsored Locations
Although Japan had to wait a few more days than everyone else to have Pokémon Go available for download, when the country did get it, it had something that other countries did not: sponsored locations. On July 20th, McDonald’s in Japan was chosen to be the first sponsored location for Pokémon Go.
McDonald’s partnered with Niantic (creator of Pokémon Go) to create a unique ad that players would not typically see in any other game. The team created “gyms” where Pokémon can be battled or trained by users at a specific retail location — a move that could drive traffic and sales.
This move will be something to watch, since it will most likely be replicated in other countries.
Augmented Reality: Something to keep an eye on
As Pokémon Go continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see what this means for the future of augmented reality.