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Pokemon Go – have brands caught ‘em all?

As a social media phenomenon, PokemonGo can take its place up there with “the dress”, the Oscar selfie and basically anything Justin Bieber tweets.

With over 30 million users alone in the US, generating its makers Niantic $1.6 million a day in revenue and Pokegyms popping up in the most unlikely of places, brands are battling each other to make sure they Catch ‘Em All before the viral success story of 2016 disappears.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last few weeks, Pokemon Go is an augmented reality take on the game where, using your phone’s GPS location data, you hunt and catch Pokemon to train and fight.

And it’s huge, with the average iPhone user spending 33 minutes on it every day, compared to Facebook (22 minutes), Snapchat (18 minutes), Twitter (17 minutes) and Instagram (15 minutes).


Brands are also getting involved with big-hitters like McDonalds turning 3,000 Japanese restaurants as PokeGyms, saying it has boosted sales of burgers by 3.1 per cent in the past month. Closer to home, tourist attractions like The Blackpool Tower and local churches are also experiencing a boost with visitors coming to find a Bulbasaur, a Dragonite or even a Charmander.

Armed with its iPhone and minder (to make sure they didn’t bump into anyone) Happy Creative went out on the streets of Blackpool to hunt for the elusive characters and caught up with Merlin’s Lisa Pearson who told us her experience of the game and its impact on the Tower.

She said: “Our own experience of Pokemon Go here at The Blackpool Tower has, so far, been a very positive one. The Tower not only acts as an incredible icon for Blackpool as a resort, it also plays an important part in the Pokemon Go gamers journey as it’s a PokeGym.

“It took a day or so for us here at The Blackpool Tower to fully understand what it meant to have a Gym in our premises (and of course, for the purposes of research, we had to get involved in the game ourselves!) but what we did realise was that the noticeable increase of people, mainly of a 13+ age bracket and tending to be together in groups, was as a direct result of Pokemon Go.”

In terms of popularity, Pokemon Go seems to be going from strength to strength for now having been launched in the UK in time for the summer holidays but whether it remains as popular in a few months’ time remains to be seen.

Brands are jumping on the opportunity of being involved with the game for their own engagement with customers and changing trends. Until the next social media storm, that is…

Nick Hyde is PR & Content Manager at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to

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