Industry POV

Pokemon Go hits Japan, Hong Kong in first Asian release; India next? - Rajiv Dingra

05/09/2016

The augmented reality (AR) mobile game by Nintendo has taken the world by storm since its release in the US less than a month ago. The craze has even hit India as people are now playing the game, although by creating US IDs. You may even see kids (and even some adults for that matter) wandering around your city glued to mobile phone screens.

Just two weeks after it was out in the US, it recorded over 30 million downloads and $35 million in revenue, according to Venture Beat report. The game has also surpassed all other popular games like Candy Crush by a mile

It has also said to have overtaken Twitter in terms of active users and Facebook in terms of engagement. This has got everyone’s attention, especially brands.

While brands in India are enthusiastic of joining the game, the question still remains regarding its participation with the game still not launched in the country.

Several ad agencies that the Zeebiz team spoke to said that brands in India have been inquiring about possible associations with the AR mobile game.

Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO of digital agency WAT Media says that brands in India are becoming a part of Pokemon Go through social media in which they use characters or situations from the game in a quirky manner.

Some Indian brands that have used Pokemon Go in their social media strategy include PassPass, Pulse candy, Red Chillies Entertainment and Zee Cinema in their recent Facebook posts.

Similarly, Zafar Rais, CEO of Mindshift Interactive says, “The game is yet to be launched officially in India so it’s a very early stage to see official associations happening however there are some basic integration seen through brands leveraging it as a topical peg through their content strategy. It’s just only a matter of time before major brands jump on the bandwagon in India and create more intrinsic strategies.”

“In India Nintendo has already put in place a company to protect their intellectual property (IP) rights,” added Dingra.

Mobile gaming in India grew over $571.6 million in 2016, according to a research by Newzoo and OneSky.

In spite of this, brands in India might have to wait for much longer before they can seen their products or brand placed in the game. As Suveer Bajaj, Co­founder of FoxyMoron says the first beta testing for brand integration is still being conducted in the US. So it will be some time before it is out in India.

“With the increasing popularity we can estimate that the launch (of the game for brands) can be expected within the quarter,” said Rais. He added, “We see news from around the world of McDonald’s trying to strike a deal with Niantic to possibly to have the gyms inside the restaurants.”

While it still not certain when the game will be out in India and for brand integrations, however brands and ad agencies are already looking at ways to integrate themselves with the game.

“At a basic level, as a content story, brands in India have been leveraging Pokemon GO. Some of them are Quikr, Juice Salon, Swipe, Meru Cabs, Amul who have created visuals showcasing Pokémon’s being spotted at various locations drawing a direct connect to the brand. Topical content always works wonders and the engagements for these posts are evidence of the same. Brands have also been innovating through the Gyms and by offering discounts to teams if they come collectively to a particular location,” Rais said.

Bajaj said brands can look at making their stores Gyms and also offer discounts on their products.

Indian connection

Some Indian brands that have used Pokemon Go in their social media strategy include PassPass Pulse candy, Red Chillies Entertainment and Zee Cinema in their recent Facebook posts. Mobile gaming in India grew over $571.6 million in 2016, according to a research by Newzoo and OneSky.

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