Pokémon is no Jokey-mon!

By Tricia Allenson

Photo Credit: NoraC at Bigstockphoto.com #138385580 

Photo Credit: NoraC at Bigstockphoto.com #138385580 

Angry Birds take notice! There’s a new Sheriff in town with a big posse (make that a big Poké) and they’re (7.5 million of them) not leaving any time soon.

Don’t you just love it when something so unusual and new comes along that it defies all reason, all explanation….it just IS.  We live in times when order and convention rule, so the recent success of Pokémon Go has caught a lot of people by surprise. It’s everywhere, it’s spreading like wildfire and it’s the Next BIG Thing, until the next, Next Big Thing comes along. 

If you or your kids are playing it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t come across it yet, this is the popular franchise from the 1990’s that brought us the original Pokémon game, so it’s a familiar name to many people.  Nostalgia and social media are driving the growth of Pokémon Go exponentially. Just in case you’ve been off the planet, here’s what you’re missing.

Nintendo (yup, those guys) created an augmented reality game in which you interact with a physical world through elements like sound, video and GPS on your smart phone. It’s new, it’s fun and best of all, it’s free.

Using your smart phone camera, Pokémon Go imposes images of Pokémon into the settings around you. Those settings may be restaurants, sports events, bars, historical landmarks, stores, tourist locations and many others.  You capture Pokémon’s that are nearby and there are battles to take over certain landmarks. Players are “lured” to specific locations to hang out, meet one another and explore.

Lure Magic

Because players require “Lures” to play at higher levels, making Lures available for them becomes a very effective way to LURE (get it?) them closer to your business where they spend time (and money). Lures can be purchased individually and in modules ranging in prices from .99 to a $100.00. Purchases are made with real money but the player uses Pokecoins in the game. Once purchased the “Lures Modules” attract Pokémon to a 500-meter radius around a particular Pokéstop for 30 minutes (Hint: maybe your business location).

 So, if .99 keeps them around for 30 minutes, that’s a pretty sweet deal for all that customer traffic. Think what 30, 40 or 50 bucks gets you. Lures could be sent out at random times or scheduled to be available during all your open hours. Dozens of lure modules might even be surrounding you right now in a variety of venues right across from a variety of businesses. 

The game is a little more involved than explained here, but that’s the basics. People love it because there is no time limit and no consequences. It’s just mindless bliss. 

And, if you embrace this technology quickly your business could reap some huge benefits. 7.5 million smartphones have downloaded this app in one week. That is a 25% stock increase for Nintendo representing $11 billion dollars (I don’t even know how many zeros that is). 

To put that in context, in 2013 the US Census Bureau estimated that there were 242,470,820 adults in the United States, and according to a 2016 Pew report, 72 percent of adults have smartphones. That means roughly 174,579,000 adults have smartphones that they could use to play Pokémon Go; 7.5 million is a fraction of that. (Alvin Chang/Vox)

Any business can be a Pokémon Go destination and purchase Lures to increase customer traffic.  The advertising potential can’t be much clearer than that. One New York establishment, L'inizio's Pizza Bar, spent approximately $10 on Lure Modules and saw food and drink sales shoot up by more than 30 percent this past weekend. The drinks cost more than $10. This is too good to be true.

And just look what an entrepreneur in Brooklyn is up to. He has created a  NYC Pokémon Go Bar Crawl scheduled for next week, and thousands of people have already signed up. Wouldn’t you like to be on that pub crawl, or wouldn’t you love to be the owner of one of those bars that people are crawling into?

Niantic, a Google spinoff software company and the game’s developer has received about 15 million submissions to be a Pokémon location and they’ve approved about 5 million of them so far for locations worldwide(source: CEO John Hanke)

Small businesses just like yours all across America are jumping on this phenomena and enticing Pokémon Go users with Lure Modules, great deals, and a variety of unusual promotions. Niantic makes their money selling the Lures by the way (lots of it).

Where this will end up is anyone’s guess, but for the moment it’s the biggest media sensation around and definitely a reason to get excited for business owners. Let us know how you plan to be part of it in the comments section.