Viveat Susan Pinto, Business
Mumbai, 17 July 2016
week from now, the fans in this city of Pokémon GO, the augmented
reality (AR) mobile game, propose to converge at Churchgate, at the
southern end, for a ‘Pokewalk’.
The idea, according to die-hard
fans, including children and college-going youth, is to "together" hunt
down Pokémons, basically virtual creatures hiding in public places.
These creatures then help the users continue with the game.
the craze for Pokémon GO grows worldwide — it is already the largest
mobile game in the US within 12 days of launch — it has opened a
plethora of branding options. The biggest, explains Anjali Hegde, chief
executive officer, Ansible Mobile, the mobile marketing arm of IPG
Mediabrands, is for retailers.
"Bars, pubs and pizza joints in
the US that fall within the digital map of the game are giving special
offers and discounts for Pokémon GO fans to drive footfalls. Many of
them are seeing sales improve, as a result," she says.
retailers, especially the global quick-service restaurants and cafe
chains, are watching the space closely. Ravi Jaipuria, chairman of
Gurgaon-headquartered RJ Corp — whose group company, Devyani
International, is a franchisee of international brands such as Pizza
Hut, KFC and Costa Coffee — says interest among Indian retailers is
high. "The game hasn't been officially launched in India, so many are
in wait-and- watch mode. But, if it can help drive footfalls, retailers
will come on board," he says.
Riyaaz Amlani, restaurateur and
managing director of Mumbai-based Impresario Entertainment &
Hospitality, says he'd be keen to know if his joints — Smoke House
Deli, Mocha, Salt Water Caf? etc — fall within the digital map
of the game. "I think most retailers and restaurateurs, especially in
the big Indian cities where the game has already become a rage without
even officially launching, will be ascertaining how they can tap into
this phenomenon in some way. I am already doing it," he says.
Reid, director at Sierra Nevada Restaurants, which brought the US
burger chain Wendy's and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant
brand, Jamie's Pizzeria, to this country, says the company only last
week ran ads on Facebook, inviting Pokémon GO fans to sample its
offering at a new outlet it was opening in Mumbai.
more of these marketing and promotion activities by retailers," Reid
says over telephone from Delhi. "The fact that people are stepping out
to find Pokémons opens branding options not only for those retailers
who fall within the digital map of the game but also for those in the
vicinity. So, if a certain spot like, say, a school, temple or park is
a PokeStop, a place where you can find Pokémons, food & beverge
joints in the vicinity are likely to benefit if they are able to market
themselves well to this audience. We tried doing that last week," he
Experts, however, caution of the health risks attached due
to excessive usage, including the danger of road accidents and fans
becoming addicted to the game.
this stage, the engagement level is high," says Devangshu Dutta, chief
executive, Third Eyesight, adding, "This is typical of games that
become an overnight sensation. Over time though, this will plateau,
giving stakeholders a chance to objectively evaluate their prospects."
most don't deny, though, is that Pokémon GO has driven significant
interest among Indian advertisers for AR, a technology that has been
used in a limited way in the country so far.
"I find clients
now more open to the idea of augmented reality and what it can do,"
says Ashish Bhasin, chairman & chief executive officer, South
Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network.
He further added, "While it
remains an expensive exercise, AR and robotics will get cheaper with
the evolution of technology, challenging conventional forms of
communication. Markets such as Japan, the US and UK are already seeing
usage of AR in out-of-home media, with good results."
in Business Standard)