July 22

Four Reasons You Should Care about Pokemon Go (even if you don’t)

So, you’re sick and tired of Pokemon Go. I get it. But after you install this Chrome plugin that will eliminate any Pokemon references from your web pages, please take a couple of minutes to read three reasons why Pokemon Go might change your world.

But before I go about heralding the upcoming explosion of augmented reality, let me admit something: I might be wrong. I know this because I’ve been wrong before. Although I correctly predicted the failure of Google Glass in the consumer market, I totally missed the boat on wearables when I convinced myself that Apple Watch would make everyone in the world want a smartwatch. It could be that the growth in interest in augmented reality is just a blip, and that soon we’ll go back to regular reality without ever having strapped on a pair of Google Cardboard glasses.

Ok, now back to the topic at hand: Four reasons Pokemon Go might change your world.

New Marketing Opportunities

Nerd Court
The boys came running when I set off a lure at 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night. Had I known it was this easy in college… Sigh.

With ad-blockers and general advertisement saturation, businesses that want to get noticed are having a very tough time. But within hours of the momentous launch of Pokemon Go, lucky businesses located near Pokestops and Gyms were spending an incredibly small amount of marketing money to set “lures” that draw Pokemon to a location. Cafes and other stores then watched zombie-eyed Poke players wander to their area, and some saw a sharp increase in sales as players cooled down with cold drinks or grabbed snacks before wandering off in search of the next character.

Even if you don’t have a Pokestop or Gym near you (the game designers set them up, though you can request them through this form), you can use the Pokemon mania to generate some buzz. An animal shelter in Muncie, Indiana, posted an invitation for Pokemon hunters to use their “Pokemon dogs” to help them find characters. Their post went viral, and they had more than enough volunteers walking their pups — along with an increase in adoptions. Sports teams posted fun pictures of Pokemon on the field and stirred up fan loyalty and cross-team rivalries. I was in an airport the other day (what a shocker), and a big sign in a Brookstone store advertised $5 off a $10 purchase for any Pokemon players. Turns out the workers didn’t even know what augmented reality  was, so I spent a half hour on some nerd education. #nerdheaven

New Technology Opportunities

Perhaps this is the most exciting development related to Pokemon Go. First, a quick experiment… take out your phones and download an app called Aurasma. Then pick up a dollar bill and put the ONE side up. Point the camera at the bill and wait for it to recognize the image. And then watch. Here, I did it for you. :)

Believe it or not, this technology has existed for years. But like QR codes, we thought of these apps as a good idea, but no one used them. I postulate that Pokemon Go will change that. I think consumers (and your colleagues) will be more interested in augmented reality apps than ever before. And we can use them to embed all kinds of multimedia, social media, bonus info and much, much more into our printed material… without having to build it in before we print.

Here’s an example of a quick augmented reality trick I created in less than two minutes.

That’s a silly one, of course, but I’ve used Aurasma and Layar to add content to printed material on numerous occasions.

New Sponsorship Opportunities

In a move that surprises no one at all, Niantic is opening the door to sponsorship opportunities for businesses. McDonald’s is going to be the first business to jump in: The rumor is that the restaurants will serve as Pokemon Stops, thus assuring visits from players who just might work up a thirst when they restock their supplies and catch some Pokemon among the tables.

Although the McDonald’s-level deal may be a kabillion dollars, thus out of reach for many small businesses, I would guess that they’ll eventually create a more affordable level for the smaller fish. I could be wrong (see above).

New Engagement Opportunities

Think about the Pokemon-playing universe: The majority of players are probably the exact demographic that will help your business. We’re talking young professionals with spending money who are playing the game for 30 or more minutes a day and our pouring about $3 million a day into Niantic’s coffers. If you’re organizing an event in the next couple of months, engage some of your younger attendees to brainstorm how to incorporate the game into your program. Can you host meetups of different teams? Can you hold a competition to see who can garner the highest-level Pokemon character over the length of your conference? Can you get people to visit your sponsors by playing an analog version of the game, offering collectable paper characters if people visit every booth? Each meeting will be different, but don’t overlook the spending power of the players. They’re going to be playing anyway… capture that momentum to your advantage.





just plain fun, marketing, meetings, on the go

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