By Chad Hason, Content Contributor
By all accounts, I’m an adult.
I’m married and gainfully employed.
In fact, I own my own business which I run out of my suburban home, close to my dogs and son.
I know how to grill and always eat my vegetables.
I keep a great lawn, pay my taxes, contribute to RRSPs and consider documentaries quite interesting.
So why then, do I find myself having lunch on a Thursday at a PokeStop with my fellow adult friend Chris who I was secretly jealous of his medal collection and openly mooching off his lures in an attempt to catch a Horsea while I strategize non-walking ways to make my eggs hatch?
At this point in the read you should fall into one of two camps:
- You read that last sentence without flinching, understanding exactly what I was doing.
There’s no judgement, in fact, if you are team yellow – you may even feel an unspoken connection…
- You have no idea what I’m talking about.
But now you suspect my earlier claims of ‘being an adult’ were most likely exaggerated – and more likely, were straight-up lies.
While I expect many of you fall into the second category – the number falling into the first is much larger than you may think.
Blast to the past: A worldwide phenomenon
Pokémon Go, since it’s world-wide launch, has been downloaded millions of times.
According to Fortune.com, “Whereas Angry Birds 2 and Candy Crush Jelly Saga brought in 2.2 million and 1.8 million downloads respectively during their first week on the App store, Pokémon Go had a whopping 7.2 million downloads.”
There’s even a website that puts these crazy into visual perspective in real-time.
However, if for some reason you have yet to be introduced to this global sensation – let me catch you up quick:
Pokémon Go is an app that is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game. where players use a mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle and
Players use a mobile device’s GPS to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.
It’s designed to get kids up off the couch and outside.
The more they move around, the greater their chances of becoming a Pokémon Master (joy!).
Pokémon isn’t new – if you’re a millennial, or raised one, you’ve probably seen the playing cards, the television show or the insane amount of branded merchandise.
Not just for kids
This revised 90s-themed game isn’t just for kids.
It’s attracting the attention of all kinds of adults – and for a variety of reasons that fall outside getting paid by the word to write about it. (Wink)
As an adult with adult friends, I can’t tell you how many have expressed joy about what the game has done for their kids’ habits.
They are willing to go places with their parents again.
Jaimie Hatter from Airdrie exclaims, “This summer has been amazing, I haven’t had to ask the kids to join me for walks or errands; they want to come so they don’t miss out on any Pokémon!”
It’s also a great way to explore a new town or city on your next road trip.
A Pokémon experience in the Calgary Region
My wife and I took our son up to High River a couple weekends back, and let the Pokémon Go App lead the way.
Once downtown, we parked next to the Museum of the Highwood and I did battle with a Seadra next to the Old Train station.
Afterwards, we were led to Colossi’s Coffee House (which doubles as a PokeStop Gym Level 2) where we treated ourselves to a coffee, some banana bread and chatted up the staff.
Sandy and Lee-Anne were the two smiling ladies behind the counter who admitted they’d seen an influx of young people since Pokémon Go began.
“You can tell they are here because of Pokémon because they walk in here two or three at a time, glued to their phones and focused on the same front corner by the window.”
Sure enough, there was a Venonat ready to do battle, standing next to the window (he was lucky I was taking a break).
I asked Sandy and Lee-Anne if they had considered taking advantage of the fact that Pokémon was driving kids their way, but to-date they said they hadn’t done anything to capitalize.
But the opportunity is certainly there.
Back in Calgary, local businesses like Limericks Pub and Analog Coffee Shop learned that attracting Pokémon Go enthusiasts translates into an amazing and cost effective marketing strategy.
For just $1.50 every 30 minutes, businesses can pay for Pokémon lures to attract Pokémon characters to their pub or restaurant.
The result is a community knowing they can catch quite a few if they simply hang out long enough.
And hanging out leads to product purchase, inviting friends and choosing the Pokémon-heavy businesses as their new go-to hangout.
After leaving the High River coffee shop, we followed the app to Dzona-Gu; a buffalo skull sculpture a few blocks away.
We also got ourselves some free Pokeballs at the town’s Chuck Wagon mural where we were almost run over by brothers Connor and Matthew.
Phones out and running full-tilt, they laughed when they saw me standing right where they had also been guided to go.
We talked a bit about Pokémon, shared a few stops we’d both seen and agreed Pokémon makes it pretty easy to find your way around some interesting parts of town.
These brothers were visiting from Red Deer and said their parents gave them 30 minutes of capture time before they headed home.
They tagged along as we all checked out High River’s H-Tree and Art and Soul Gallery near a large green park.
We took turns capturing a Rattata that dared show his face as we parted ways.
On the way home, my wife, who hadn’t heard of the game before our trip, was already downloading her own version on her phone, saying “I always wondered what this was about – and it’s much more fun than I imagined!”
So – whether you are looking for a fun way to engage with your kids, an excuse to get outside, an opportunity to tour a new town or city – or a new way to attract customers to your place of business – Pokémon Go has what you’re looking for! (pun intended).
Chad Hason is a Canadian storyteller and owner of Candid MarCom.