Making Your Business Stand Out with “Pokémon Go”

07.20.2016 Dan Glicksman

How to Leverage the Biggest Mobile Game in US History for Your Business


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There’s no doubt about it, the Pokémon Go craze is in full-swing, and there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. Chances are you’ve at least thought of some way (if not already acted) to get your business involved. But this is the problem right now:


Now, I have a couple of children, so I’m no stranger to that phrase (more on that later). But I’m here to share two stories (that happen to involve my kids) that will help your business stand out among the thousands of brands trying to attach their names to the mass-interest of Pikachus and PokéStops.


1. The Tanger Outlet Poké-Quest

My 11-year-old son hates errands.  I could tell him we need to go get him new sneakers and afterwards we will be going to Willy Wonka’s secret candy factory because we got one of five golden tickets – and he still wouldn’t be interested.

So he’s started to get into the Pokémon Go craze – even if it is so unfairly dominated by adults with cars (as he’s told me). Well, I happened to be sitting with him on Saturday morning, both of us on iPads  me looking online at family-related things to do in town for the weekend (things like the Science Center, planetarium shows, zoos, candy factory tours and such) – when I caught a bullet that read “Pokémon Go related things to do.” Ok, I just had to see this. I clicked thru and read aloud to him what it said – that the local Tanger Outlet Stores had set up a series of Pokémon Go “lures” all weekend, with numerous PokéStops (for those of you who need that defined – people would be driven to go here to “catch” Pokémon who are showing up more often, with the added advantage of also being able to pick up items to help them on their catching adventure).

“Can we go there?” my son asked. About a quarter of a second later I yelled to my wife, “Get dressed, we’re going back-to-school-shopping right now!

Could it be that my son and parental errands were now in a happy place? Running towards each other, dressed in all white in slow motion on a beach ready for that romantic embrace? The answer in short was – YES! We made the choice to drive 40 minutes from home when there may have been numerous shopping centers much closer doing the same thing. But I wasn’t ready to go on a Pokémon Go quest – I wanted the sure thing. In fact, Tanger Outlet Stores was super smart about doing a few key things well:

1. PR – They let the local newspaper know details of the event, and the newspaper taking advantage of current events published it (and I saw it in their online version).

2. Social Media – If you have followers, let them know. And with people getting accustomed to checking individual brand social pages like they would typically do a website – why not! It’s also relatively easy to update your social media pages. 

3. Offer – Tanger made a $10 offer to anyone that showed a picture of a Pokémon caught on premise – good for any store there. Brilliant, because when it comes to savings, “gotta catch ’em all!”

Their local competition did nothing of the sort – not even an update on their social pages. I stopped at a couple shopping centers – and while they had obvious Pokémon Go related traffic – you know, the zombie Pokémon Go players who could walk straight into a wall, pole or manhole at any moment, trying to track down that mythical “Snorlax” (related, I’m thinking ER rooms should stock up on stitches and ice packs for this phenomena) – they didn’t have anywhere near the scores of players that were reported elsewhere like Tanger Outlet Stores.

So, how else can a brand promote their Poké-efforts? Enter story number two…


2. The “Babysitter BFF” Commercial

This story involves my 9-year old daughter. About two years ago, we were looking to hire a new nanny. My wife and I were at the kitchen table talking about some referrals we received from friends and my daughter, overhearing us talk, jumped into the conversation and said, “How about” At the time, I half-thought there had to be a camera on me right then, filming a television commercial for That was exactly it – TV. She had seen a commercial on TV, on either Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, for that depicted the service as pretty much the way for a child to pick their new “BFF” nanny – and it was done by presenting images and videos of kids and babysitters in playful heavenly bliss. Brilliant in positioning and storytelling – this would never have worked on any other traditional medium! So I ask –

When will we see Pokémon Go as part of television advertisement campaign offers for local businesses?

My answer is soon – because if my kids would’ve seen the right offer to catch Pokémon this past weekend, we’d have been there. In fact, with the demographic for players being adults, and mainly millennial women, there are all sorts of huge opportunities to speak to the right audience on television, as well as online and through mobile devices. Why not deliver your Pokémon Go related message to a local shopper in a specific place at a specific time?  Chances are, as I’ve seen  with these driven individuals – they will pick up and speed towards the opportunity. To sum up – alter your creative a little, and get the word out on that offer by:

1. TV Advertising – Target the audience you want and know that it is so easy these days to change up creative to fit in the offer you want. So if it’s a fad, you can always go back to the original creative and offer. But if it’s not – well, the alternative is to let your competition have all the fun (and check-cashing).

2. Digital – Both online and mobile. This is truly a no-brainer – go ahead and target those folks most like to use the Pokémon Go app, throw in the demographic you’d like to target and start ringing the cash register.

I’m sure this will all continue to “evolve” over time as I’m already beginning to hear creative instances of using Pokémon Go to promote things. In the meantime, I have to go home to an 11-year old who is starting to ask me the earliest time he’s allowed to drive (yes, to hunt Pokémon,) and a 9-year old who is telling us she wants a phone because all of her friends have one, but now needs it because they are all using it to play Pokémon Go. The joys of parenting in an “everybody’s doing it” world!




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Dan Glicksman

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