What Pokemon Go means for marketing

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If the overnight success of Pokémon Go means anything, it’s that augmented reality has entered the mainstream and will be understood by many more people. And augmented reality (AR) has many applications in marketing.

For those who haven’t heard of AR, it’s adding data or images to images of the real world. While it can be done with a special headset it’s far more accessible if it’s done with a smartphone camera and app.

And for those who don’t know what Pokémon Go is, it’s a wildly popular game that came out just two weeks ago. It uses AR to add the Pokémon characters into the real world for players to interact with.

Pokemon Go in museum

Players can find Pokémon Go characters almost anywhere, and some businesses have seen a significant uptick in business because they are a hotspot. (Clearly sponsored hotspots is a business opportunity for Pokémon Go 2.) Some places like Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum have asked people to not play the game on their premises.

Marketers have been using AR for a few years, although with limited success. Maybe that’s now going to change.

Some examples of AR In the consumer marketing world, sometimes integrated with catalogs, have included…

  • Ikea and other furniture retailers letting you see what a piece of furniture will look like in your home
  • Converse AR letting you virtually try on their sneakers
  • De Beers AR enabling people virtually try on diamond jewelry
  • IBM developed a retail AR app so people could get more information about food on a supermarket shelf
  • And, in a bit of a switcheroo, if you point the Moosejaw AR app at photos in their catalog it’ll show (reveal?) the underwear that the model is wearing, which you can also purchase.

AR has marketing opportunities in B2B, too. Some possibilities…

  • Sales tools that let the prospect look at how equipment or furniture will fit into a space
  • Real estate agents and interior designers could let customers add and move walls in an empty space
  • Virtually disassembler devices, getting detailed product specs and possibly replacement part numbers, with integrated ordering
  • Virtual product launches in which prospects can see a new product, in place, months before physical versions will be available.

When it comes to augmented reality, seeing is believing. And maybe with the success of Pokémon Go it’s time has arrived.