Flashback to the summer: groups of people with eyes glued to their phone screen who possessed a look of fierce determination that was barely visible to others on the street (due to the eyes down…duh), but the stench of dedication so strong that it would ensure nobody would cross their path. Zoos were broken into, people were killed and dead bodies were found. No I’m not talking about criminals or your wannabe detective…I’m talking about a special breed known as the 2016 Pokémon hunter.
On July 17, 2016 Pokémon Go was released in Canada, but let’s be honest…everyone already had it. Shout out to the tech-savvy bunch who gifted their friends a head start when the game got released in the United States only eleven days earlier. You guys are the real MVPs and we thank you for your dedicated service to help the public catch ‘em all.
I don’t think anyone ever expected the game to blow up as much as it did. Stores began offering discounts if you showed the app on your phone, restaurants were giving away gift cards if you caught a certain Pokémon in store and cell phone companies were jumping on the opportunity to upsell data packages to customers who were dedicated to the hunt. Nintendo was even thanking people who were publicly bashing the game because it’s true what they say: any publicity is good publicity. A harmless game from our generation’s childhood was suddenly turning into the marketing strategy of the summer. Pokémon hunters became a target audience because they had been infected by a plague that was quickly taking over cities, businesses and lifestyles.
It’s now been three months since the launch of Pokémon Go for smartphones. The hype came, it was seen by all (whether you liked it or not) and it definitely conquered summer ’16. But like any fad the expiration date came and Pokémon Go became nothing but a distant memory of a summer fling.
The impact social media has on our lives is terrifying, but a lot of lessons can also be taken away from the success of Pokémon Go and it’s social media fame. Social Media Today and Add This are just two examples that draw on the games success to teach social media marketers how to harness the power of a fad to grow and maintain their online following.
Farewell Pokémon Go. Even though I never played you I thank you for making learning fun, reviving a childhood memory, testing my reaction time when driving (eyes up before you cross the street kids) and making people watching that much more fun for the summer. You will be missed by all.