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Marketing lures inspired by Pokémon Go

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Marketers can learn from the success of Pokémon Go.

If you haven’t heard of Pokémon Go, it’s time to crawl out of that cave. If you live in a major city, you would have seen crowds of people (heads buried in their smartphones) diligently hunting for the nineties era cartoon characters. Office lunch conversations are now all about where to hunt down the rarest Pokémons.

Many people are calling this a viral sensation – for good reason. Some estimate that there are as many as 9.5 million people playing the game daily.

Brands and advertisers are known for jumping on viral trends to help build their own brands. And this case is no different. Many marketers now see Pokémon Go as an enormous opportunity to get their brand in front of new audiences, or to provide something unique for gamers that will get them talking and build conversations about the brand in social media.

Here are some Pokémon Go inspired marketing lures set by businesses both large and small.


Retailers have started regularly sharing Pokémon Go related content in their social channels. They are also encouraging fans and customers to join in by sharing their own sightings at the retail locations. This is a huge draw for customers and also a great way for brands to engage with their fans.

In addition to taking advantage of the buzz around the game, these updates are driving considerable foot traffic to both large businesses like Target and smaller shop owners.


Businesses who have caught on to the “lure” function of the game are using it to entice customers to visit their stores for some Pokémon hunting while enjoying special promotions. A ‘lure’ brings a high number of Pokémon to a specific place for a limited time – and has been proven to bring a lot of people with it. It’s a great way to increase traffic over a period of time, and with that comes the opportunity to get in front of new customers.


In the past, the words “augmented reality” sounded like a made-up technology that was many years away from reality. As is the case with a lot of technology that’s new and not widely used yet, people didn’t pay much attention to it and it wasn’t on the radar of brands at all.

With Pokémon Go, augmented reality was made accessible to a huge number of people very quickly. No special technology or fancy glasses are needed to have a great time playing the game – you just need your phone and the app.

Although this was created before the Pokémon craze, IKEA’s innovative strategy is a great example of how marketers can leverage augmented reality. With the insight that many people return IKEA furniture because they find it doesn’t actually fit their space, IKEA created an app that allows people to use their phones to see how a piece of furniture would fit in their homes.

As with anything viral in nature, it’s possible that the Pokémon Go craze will disappear as rapidly as it came along. Being able to quickly leverage something that’s current and popular with the masses is a way to show you’re a timely and relevant brand. It also helps you get in front of new customers whom you may not have had a chance to connect with otherwise.

Another piece of great news for marketers – the game’s developer has confirmed that it will be adding sponsored locations for retailers in the future. Looks like the game is here to stay for a while. So go out there and Poké the heck out of it while you can!

Winner of Facebook’s Innovator of the Year, ReFUEL4 is the world’s leading data-driven creative platform, delivering assets from 10,000 global creators backed by predictive AI technology. Learn more here.

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