Only people living under a rock would not have heard about the latest gaming phenomenon called Pokemon Go. There’s enough written about how this is the new frontier in gaming and how the generation that grew up watching the cartoon series is now being converted into an army of zombies continually staring at their phone screens, swiping away in the pursuit of Pikachu or the elusive rare Pokemon. What needs to be spoken about it is how technology has been able to revive an old brand through an immersive user experience, and how! The game is a master stroke and has achieved it in a span of few days what brands move heaven and earth to achieve in years – a tribe that follows them. The game has adopted a technology, which was easily available to marketers even before and has showed them the way it really needs to be used. It has shown that people don’t need to be financially incentivised to take action. In an environment of constant intrusions from brands, Pokemon Go is a breath of fresh air.
The challenges that lie ahead are two fold – First, from the perspective of the game itself which will need to innovate to stay relevant. Second, for businesses to capitalise on the buzz and excitement surrounding the game by being open to experimenting with new methods of engaging their customers.
The developers of the game have already announced that they will be launching their first in-game advertising partnership with McDonalds when the game rolls out in Japan, but the innovation needs to go beyond owning Pokestops and incentivising purchase.
Are we soon going to be looking at Branded Pokemon walking around specific stores? No one knows. Pokemon Go has opened up an uncharted territory for brands and has set the ball rolling for innovation, because there are no rules and at the end of it all, only the most creative mind will be the true winner of the game.
-Akash Shyam Nagrani