Catching Millennials with Pokémon Go

Have you played Pokémon Go yet? Don’t worry, me either. But it’s likely you’ve seen dozens of social media posts and news stories about it. After all, it is now the biggest U.S. mobile game. Ever.

Pokémon is a pop culture mainstay of my generation that I completely skipped, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with Pokémon, here’s my base knowledge and what I have gathered from listening to my husband talk about it, which will hopefully provide some context:

  • Pokémon, short for “pocket monsters,” are fictional creatures that humans catch and train to battle each other for sport
  • There was an anime series in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as several movies, video games and a trading card game
  • There were 151 original Pokémon in the “first” generation and Millennials are really snobby about those being the only “real” Pokémon
  • Pikachu is apparently the favorite

What does any of this have to with business? Plenty, if you are hoping to attract younger customers.

Pokémon Go has people wandering their towns looking for Pokémon to catch, and the game has a “lure” feature to draw people to locations where Pokémon or other goodies may be hiding. In order to place a lure, you have to buy one within the game.

Businesses have been buying these lures to bring in customers or offering specials centered on the Pokémon theme, and apparently it’s been working. One business even offers helicopter tours to find Pokémon.

Wouldn’t that be a great idea for a boat rental company or a marina? There are water-based Pokémon that tend to congregate near bodies of water, and offering a boat tour would bring in customers who are searching for these creatures. These customers are likely 30 and younger, an age we are looking to capture, or are young kids with parents looking to get their children outside this summer. What a great way to introduce young people to boating in a fun and interesting way, hopefully getting them as addicted to the water as they are to Pokémon.

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BoatUS even released a list of three tips for playing Pokemon Go while boating, which would be great to offer to customers coming to your businesses.

It may seem silly to you or like a passing fad, but Pokémon Go has a lot of people’s attention right now. It’s getting young people outside at an astounding rate. It would be worth exploring how you can utilize Pokémon in your business.

But if you take people on a boat to play Pokémon Go, make sure they wear life jackets so they are protected if they walk off the boat.

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