While the craze of Pokémon Go has expectedly winded down a bit from its feverish launch this summer, there is no denying that this location-based mobile game still holds much potential for brands to explore. Back in August, Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, struck a deal with McDonald’s to turn over 3,000 restaurant locations in Japan into sponsored Gyms in the game. But since then, Niantic has made no big move in regards to bringing brand sponsorships to markets outside Japan.
That officially changes today as not one, but two big-name brands become sponsors for the game in the U.S. Earlier today Sprint announced it is partnering with Niantic to add PokéStops and Gyms at over ten thousand Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Sprint-RadioShack store locations. Moreover, Starbucks has reportedly also signed on for a similar partnership to turn its coffee shops nationwide into PokéStops and Gyms in the game. Moreover, a leaked document also shows that Starbucks will be introducing some Pokémon-themed drinks to accompany the launch.
What Brands Should Do
As we pointed out in our previous Fast Forward analysis on the game, Pokémon Go’s smashing success presents great opportunities for brands to reach a young-skewing audience on mobile and even drive offline traffic to stores. While not every brand has the resources to become an official sponsor for game, there are still plenty of things that brands can do to capitalize on the game’s viral popularity and its AR-related implications. We have already seen some brands finding interesting workarounds such as location-based dynamic ads to reach Pokémon Go players. As Niantic warms up to brand sponsors, we expect more opportunities to come for brands to reach the massive global mobile users playing the game.
For more suggestions on how brands can benefit from “Pokémania,” check out our in-depth Fast Forward analysis on the matter here.