Important Marketing Lessons from Pokemon Go

Just for a few days the reality game Pokemon Go was launched it became the most downloaded application in history – 10.000.000 users and 1.000.000 reviews. The whole world went crazy about those little pocket monsters who roam the city streets totally unaware that human “hunters” are out there to get them.

Even in Bulgaria the game became so popular that a week before its official launch in our part of the world cracked versions were flying from smartphone to smartphone forcing thousands of people go outside in search of pokemons.

Listen to this! The daily usage of Pokemon Go surpassed that of Twitter and Tinder. And the value of Nintendо went up by 9 billion. What kind of game can reach those kinds of monstrous results for a week? Maybe a game that has brilliant marketing behind it!


So … what can we learn from the success of Pokemon Go and the masterminds behind it?


I. Emotion is everything

The creators of the game stirred up the nostalgia of the grown up kids! Do you remember the times when we used to watch the adventures of Pikachu and Ash? Or how we used to collect pokemon cards from croissant packages? The pokemons were our friends and part of our everyday life – the kids in us were attached to them. This feeling alone is a major part of Pokemon Go’s success. Nintendo simply capitalized on our nostalgia and sent the grown up kids after their childhood dreams.

Another aspect of the emotion is the game itself and the thrill it gives to the “hunters”! The more little monsters you catch, the more you get ahead and this emotion is valuable for any person – we all love to be good at something. The game made us “constantly aware” no matter where we are. The thought that there are pokemons lurking just around the corner made us play all the time. And the fact that all “hunter” shared their results and progress on social media made the psychological effect of the game even greater.


II. Wave of expectation

The PR and marketing people at Pokemon Go did a terrific job promoting the game. At that … without a gigantic advertising budget! How on earth? Social media! Nintendo gave a pre-launch version to gamers from Australia, the States and Japan so they can test the game and share their first impressions. As a result social media exploded with opinions, recommendations and tips and  discussions about the upcoming craze starter stirring up.

We live in a time when social testimony and personal recommendation are everything and they are very evident on social media! We would hardly buy or even try something if someone else hasn’t already reviewed it. Nintendo’s product definitely had supporters way before its official launch.

Pokemon Go is certainly not the first reality game but it is revolutionary for the video game industry simply because you can play it from the device that never leaves your side – your smartphone. This is a great benefit – who would pass on the opportunity to be among the first to try something revolutionary?


III. Exclusivity – “You’re part of something special!”

One of the main tactics in the game is that certain pokemons can only be found in certain areas of the city. Playing Pokemon Go was like a coffee shot – it awoke our competitiveness and the thrill of the unknown. This exclusivity created a positive emotion for Nintendo’s customers and in marketing that is all that really matters.


IV. Usefulness

One of the most unique features of Pokemon Go is that it challenges people to be physically active. It makes the “hunters” get up, go out and move. One point more for team Nintendo.


V. The brand can sell anything

There’s no doubt that the trust people have for the 20-year-old Nintendo is also a big part of the success of the game. The brand can really sell anything because a very big group of people have already attached themselves emotionally to it and have become loyal to its products and services. That’s exactly what happened with Pokemon Go.


VI. Right timing

The game was launched right after the start of summer when kid and teenagers are on their break and have plenty of time to kill while being outside. Can you imagine if Nintendo had decided to start the campaign during winter or a rainy season. Right timing is everything!


Pokemon Go proved that virtual reality is the future! No only for the game industry but also for business and advertising. We’re about to witness where the Nintendo team takes the game in terms of marketing and how it affects local businesses. There are already rumors about business ads based on location. 😉 We’ll wait and see … but with the Pokemon Go pace, trust me, we’ll not have to wait long.

So Pokemon away but not while you’re driving! 🙂

Ely establishes a web design and multimedia studio in 2003. She gets a Marketing MBA from City University of Seattle and then she gives wings to her to love to marketing and digital world by creating "Social Freaks". Ely will love your brand and will commit to its evolution, will show you if you are making a mistake, she will create a strategy development plan and will make your brand flourish. And when she is not talking about bussiness, you may hear her sing in a night club for her hobby.