Pokémon Go: How to revive a brand and create a global craze in just over a week

In just a little over a week, it’s safe to say that many of us have lost loved ones to this new game, been inundated with Pokemon Go memes on social media, and have added the words “zoo bat” and “charizard” to our vocabulary – albeit involuntarily.

Although it’s not for everyone, you do have to smile when your newly Pokémon-consumed fiancé now offers to take the dogs for walks, wonders around the gym parking lot instead of actually gymming, and gets super excited when his virtual eggs are about to hatch. Sometimes I love it, because he’ll tell me that there is a Pokémon sitting on my head and I think that’s kind of cute, and other times I want to say, ‘whoever created this game… could you just not?’

Wether it’s more like Pokemon Go for you, or more like Pokemon No… you can’t get a way from the fact that this recently launched game for Android and iOS (iOS – only available in some countries) has been one of the most epic brand revivals in history.

Pokémon Go is a location-based game that is free to play and utilises one of the hottest trends right now – augmented reality.

We’ve all heard about Pokemon, and we all collected the cards and other merchandise that came in our chip packets and cereals when we were kids. Most of us since then, have forgotten all about this anime-inspired series that used to show on our favourite kids TV channel, or that we used to play on Nintendo and Playstation.

It’s safe to say that since it’s inception, the craze of the brand never died down in countries like Japan – where it was originated. But for the rest of the world, we had pretty much moved on. In effect, Pokemon had become a quite brand, one that was thought of more with melancholy than relevance… until about a week ago.

Their success so far

The release of the Pokémon Go game for Android has completely and utterly disrupted the entire world instatistics just a few short days. Not only has this brand successfully managed to have everyone on the planet talking about it, but within three days of it’s release, it attracted more users than Twitter… and as of yesterday, Pokémon GO attracted just under 21 million daily active users in the United States, surpassing Candy Crush saga’s rumoured peak US smartphone audience of 20 million and making it the biggest mobile game in US history. And with its current rate of growth, Pokémon GO is on track to pass Snapchat within a couple of days of being on Android. Now how’s that for a comeback!

This might just be the biggest brand revival in history, and possibly the most cleverly and successfully used marketing tactic of all time. They have used the obvious fact that mobile users is where the money is at, and they have engaged with the entire world through an interactive, competitive and extremely addictive app.

Pokemon 2How does it work?

So, what exactly is this game all about? Well, five years ago, Niantic (the developers) set out on a path to change the way people interact with the world around them by creating the world’s first “real world gaming” platform. By exploiting the capabilities of smartphones and location technology and through building a unique massively scalable server and global location dataset, they have helped users all around the world have fun, socialise, and get more fit as they play and explore. Those players have merged into an amazing global community where players compete, collaborate, and celebrate in more than 200 countries around the world. Some have literally traveled to the ends of the earth in their quest to further their rankings.

Pokemon 1In simple terms, Pokémon Go is a game that uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game, and then make different Pokémon “appear” around you (on your phone screen) so you can go and catch them. As you move around, different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. The idea is to encourage you to travel around the real world to catch Pokémon in the game. There are many factors to this game, players can discover and catch more than 100 Pokémon from the original Red and Blue games, take Pokémon into battle against other Pokémon at Gyms, uncover items including a variety of types of Poké Balls and eggs at PokéStops, hatch and train new Pokémon, and so much more.

These virtual creatures have got people to get off of the couch and become more active, all in the quest for new Pokemon. Dogs are happier too because people are taking them for more walks to catch more of these critters, and neighbourhoods now have a presence of kids actually riding their bicycles for a change, rather being than glued to the television.

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There is a lot of good that has come out of it, but with the good comes the bad too. Players also tend to get far too carried away with the game, and have been seen trespassing on land and having car accidents because of it. You may have heard stories of people hunting down Pokémon at the office or even creeping into hospital rooms…One teenage girl even found a dead body while out looking for Pokémon. Another source claims that police in Missouri arrested four suspected robbers lured in victims with a chance of catching Pokémon.

Pokemon and Drive

When it comes to this game, you’ll either love it or hate it… but with all the good and bad aside, one thing is for certain – and that’s that Pokémon Go (even though it wasn’t the first augmented reality game, nor will it be the last) is most definitely the biggest augmented reality game to date and has taken the world by storm in just a few short days. And that is how you successfully bring back a brand that was to most people, a thing of the past.

You can download Pokémon Go free from the Google Play App store here, or if you’re way past downloading it, why not join the Pokemon Go South Africa group on Facebook?

Happy Poké-hunting!


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