Yesterday I drove to downtown Henderson to pick up my oldest daughter and, in the process of driving down Water Street, I almost hit two or three pedestrians. That alone was odd for the area, but then as I really looked around, the normally deserted streets were filled with people wandering, not aimlessly, but rather with the purpose of catching a Pokémon.
If you have yet to hear about the craze of Pokémon Go, it might be time to crawl out from under your rock and look around. Whether you’re watching the sometimes-amusing reports of the trouble people have gotten in while playing the game, or are simply minding your own business at the park, it’s hard to escape Pokémon Go. More than 2,000 people showed up to Sunset Park just this past Sunday, and that doesn’t even capture the numbers of people around the country coming together to play the game. In fact, according to information reported by FastCompany, more people are playing the game than are using Snapchat or Instagram.
Now for the question everyone wants to know: What’s the big deal? Well, based on a recent Twitter chat hosted by AdWeek (#AdWeekChat), marketing and advertising professionals believe the nostalgia of bringing back a trend from the ‘90s and making it new again with easily accessible technology has a lot to do with it. I would also argue that, during a time where our country is struggling to process the events of the last few weeks, Pokémon Go offers an escape from reality. It also seems to be bringing people together.
Another question I have been pondering – and often do when similar trends surface: Should businesses be riding on the coattails of Pokémon Go to encourage more foot traffic? My answer: it depends. What are you hoping to accomplish? If you are seeking Pokémon Go players to purchase your widget, does your product fit the demographic? If they show up, will they find what they are looking for? In this case, the answer is Pokémon characters, which means your product would not be at the forefront. So, first things first, you should probably download the app before you invite all your Facebook friends to your business headquarters and make sure there are indeed monsters to be found. An animal shelter is taking advantage of the trend by inviting players to walk dogs while they play. Will it work? Time will tell, but I think they have the right idea in mind.
If nothing else, Pokémon Go has provided an endless amount of entertainment for me in the way of news headlines and ridiculously funny memes. Are you playing?
Megan does not play Pokémon Go, but she won’t judge you if you are addicted.