Pokemon Go for Pharma

The hot topic of the day? Pokemon Go. This augmented reality sensation actually has some relevance for pharma today, as you can see in today’s FiercePharma article “Can pharma marketers capitalize on the Pokémon Go craze?

We asked some of our experts to share how they see pharma getting in on this trend.

Have we ever seen hype like this before? It seems to be everywhere!

“Oh the hype. It reminds me of FourSquare when they launched and users rushed to check-in everywhere they go in an effort to become the local mayor of various locations like restaurants. But the question is, will Pokemon have legs – pun intended – to go the distance with marketers trying to leverage the buzz around the game?” – Adam Scott Roberts, SVP, Media

Have you seen any brands leveraging this well so far?

“Right now there is no paid media component, but certain physical locations are assigned as ‘gyms’ or ‘Pokestops’, which a lot of small businesses are taking advantage of. Many of them are offering specials to people who catch Pokemon while there. I’ve even seen an instance of a library tying it in to marketing efforts.” – Justin Freid, VP, Search Engine Marketing and Emerging Media

What other ways could brands – especially pharma/healthcare brands – take advantage of this trend?

“The localization feature is being touted as business opportunity. This could be great for a gym or a coffee shop to operate and act as a Pokestop – but the question isn’t will pharma jump in… the question is can pharma jump in? Health and wellness marketers tend to watch and see how this works and then consider it and I’m sure we will see a consumer brand or two tap into this – likely with less restrictions in what they can execute on. So for pharma, regulatory challenges and end-user utility as a health tool could prevent Rx drug marketers from diving in right away, and that is if the developers and in-app folks approve of a partnership which could prove to (in pharma) a lengthy proposition in terms of time to bring to market making this less likely to have adoption in pharma. This could play out nicely in location-based stores for CPG and health and wellness brands. Imagine playing the game at CVS or Rite Aid and a pokestop gives you a virtual coupon for a location-based offering in-store or a reminder message while waiting for the pharmacist.” – Roberts
“As far as pharma goes, the biggest hurdle would be matching it up with location based marketing, such as sponsoring a PokeStop or Gym that is tied to a pharmacy. Since we currently cannot sponsor it through the game, we would need to create marketing material at a physical location and use the creative to tie it to Pokemon Go and the brand or parent company.” – Freid

What other potential is there for brands to leverage Pokemon Go?

“Data. One very interesting tidbit that I was reading was related to the information that Pokemon Go has on consumers. In their TOS, it calls out being able to access all information related to the account you link it up to. I signed up with my gmail account, so technically, Pokemon Go knows all of my emails and search behavior. So the advertising possibilities are endless. I assume this is all information we will be able to leverage as the platform rolls out a way for brands to advertise.” – Freid

So – will Pokemon Go have legs for pharma?

“This may not make sense right now, but I predict it will in the very near future.” – Freid
“The interesting thing is pharma and marketers have talked about gamification for years – this is the biggest yet and is driving the interest from agencies and marketers. There will also always be a me-too, will we see Facebook or Twitter try and replicate building on new tools like Facebook Live to breathe new life in the platform? If anything the importance of location based marketing has moved well beyond the DMA or MSA framework and literally shifted into the palm of our hands and in-store. This is one to watch!” – Roberts

If you’re interested in speaking with our experts, or in learning where we spotted mewtwo (just kidding, we wish), please feel free to contact us:
Robert Kadar, SVP Customer Development rkadar@cmicompas.com
Adam Scott Roberts, SVP, Media aroberts@cmimedia.com
Justin Freid, VP, Search Engine Marketing and Emerging Media jfreid@cmimedia.com
Carly Kuper, VP, Public Relations & Corporate Communications ckuper@cmicompas.com