If you didn’t hear about the mobile app game, Pokémon Go, when it came crashing into all of our lives this summer, then you clearly were not paying attention. Suddenly there was an influx of people of all ages walking around outside, most of the time in groups, staring down at their phones catching Pokémon that were invisible to everyone else.
We saw this happening, and with advertising on the brain, per usual, we thought of an opportunity for one of our clients, whose target audience is college students, to really play into this trend and get noticed in a stand-out kind of way.
Bear Village Apartments is an off-campus apartment complex next to Missouri State University. We are always looking for new ways to uniquely reach out to students and connect them to Bear Village. We knew we had a limited window to use this passing fad to our advantage so we prepared and implemented this campaign in record time. (Which presented its challenges when trying to ship 300 Poké balls from China.)
Like most guerrilla marketing tactics, there was no advertising around this campaign. We wanted the news of what we were doing to spread organically and not force it. In order for this campaign to be successful, our advertising had to come from the students themselves. So what did we do?
We showed up on Missouri State’s campus with a real life Ash, the main character of Pokémon, around the specific locations that were known to be both high foot traffic areas on campus and also Pokémon “hot spots.”
After students had gotten over the initial shock of “Is that the Pokémon character Ash?” (confirmed by the Pikachu on his arm) conversations of what exactly he was doing on campus began to spread. Depending on which Pokémon GO team each student was on, Red, Blue or Yellow, they were given a free “co-branded” t-shirt in their team color in return for liking Bear Village on social media. The call to action came with a branded hang tag on the t-shirt informing the student that they could go to Bear Village to pick a Poké ball, each filled with an array of prizes.
Engaged students visited the Bear Village Clubhouse to receive their prize – at which point a Bear Village sales associate was able to speak with them about their housing options for the following year. Bear Village’s social media following also increased by more than 200 followers as a result of this campaign.
This campaign was designed to create direct student engagement, drive potential residents to Bear Village and position the Bear Village brand as one that understands its target market; and it did just that. Who says you have to stick to the basics of advertising to market your business? Find a trend that works for your audience and have a little fun with it.
If you need a few creative brains to tie a trend to your brand, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org!