Pokemon Go: Will TV Follow Suit?

It’s a pretty fair bet that for the last week or so, most of us have been hearing the word Pokemon more often than we have in over a decade.  And if you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go yet, there’s a good chance you’ve been living in a cave.

Or maybe heavily involved in a particularly arduous pitch, which amounts to the same thing.

For those who haven’t either read about it or actually downloaded it yet, Pokemn Go represents an updating of the franchise and a reinvigoration of the brand through the handy application of augmented reality and some basic principals of gamification. 

It has literally millions of active users in little more than a week after its release, many are busily going to retail outlets, museums, public monuments and any number of other locations in pursuit of virtual Pokemon characters to lay along with the game.

And retailers are driving foot traffic in surprisingly large numbers. 

It’s too early to say just how much those retailers are benefiting in terms of sales, but with many of them making special offers to players of the game, it seems likely we’ll learn of an increasing number of good reports for this nascent promotional tool very soon.



However, while Pokemon Go is undoubtedly extremely interesting, it’s perhaps more intriguing to contemplate what else we might see come to market in the months ahead as more companies ask: “What could we do like that?”

Of course, not all brands are of the type that can easily create something like Pokemon Go. But one area that has the potential to leverage large and highly engaged fan bases is the world of TV.

The vast array of characters in favorite shows and the relationship viewers have with them create all sorts of opportunities to employ technologies like augmented reality, which take those characters to settings beyond the TV screen and into people’s lives.

Its not difficult to imagine characters from “The Simpsons,” “Rick and Morty,” “Big Bang Theory,” “Two Broke Girls” or even zombies from “The Walking Dead” finding a context in which augmented reality is applied.

It would be used either to drive tune in or as revenue drivers through sales promotions for retailers or on-pack for CPG brands.  We could be looking at the new version of the little plastic characters in the cereal packets.

In this respect, the revenue generating opportunities present themselves when thinking about augmented reality as a means of creating incremental inventory by leveraging the intellectual property tied up in shows and characters.

Will they all achieve the levels of success that Pokemen Go is experiencing? 

Almost certainly not – but at the very least, augmented reality represents another way to leverage and profit from the equity already built on-air and take it into another dimension. 

Who will be the first to do it?

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