Pokemon GO is a game that mixes catching little creatures with virtual reality.
In other words, transferring the gameplay to the actual, real, physical world.
Cemeteries began erecting signs asking people not to play it there.
While people were burying their loved ones, groups of Pokemon GO players would trample through the service chasing after the characters on their screens.
To the grownups among us this may seem unacceptable behaviour, but the manufacturers of the game, Niantec, disagreed.
They defended this behaviour, saying cemeteries are for public use and enjoyment.
One of the cemeteries to object was Arlington military cemetery.
They think it is hallowed ground, for the quiet respect of the war dead by their relatives.
Other places to object were churches, where weddings and funerals have been disrupted by groups breathlessly trying to catch little characters placed there.
The young people involved in this game see it as fun, and people who object are stuffy and old-fashioned, out-of-date.
They’ve managed to track the little characters into fun places such as libraries, public toilets, hospitals, and police stations.
One man put a video online of him laughing and capturing a little creature in the hospital next to his wife, while she was giving birth.
But perhaps one of the most surprising locations for people to track these creatures is the 9/11 memorial, erected to commemorate the 2,606 people who died there.
I may be old-fashioned, but I don’t think that’s appropriate.
Or , for me, an even more surprising place where you can chase fun little creatures was Auschwitz, where an estimated million people were gassed and their bodies burnt.
I can’t quite see the fit between that and little characters called: Slowpoke, Spoonie, Cubone, Pidgey, Koffing, Weedle, Squirtee, Likitung, and Jigglypuff.
And yet remember when, not so long ago, it was unthinkable for an agency to go into a new business presentation without a Pokemon GO strategy?
Pokemon GO was supposed to revolutionise the world of brand marketing in particular.
Because, like any shiny new thing, young people in advertising couldn’t be left out.
It was new, that was all they needed to know.
As a chief marketing influencer wrote at the time:
“Viral doesn’t begin to describe the mobile marvel that is Pokemon GO. With more daily users than any mobile game ever, Pokemon has found its way into our hearts, and our mobile devices. Users already spend more time on the app (an average of 33 minutes a day) than Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat.”
It must be true, because it came from someone who describes themself like this:
“Forbes called him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and the world’s top social marketing talent. Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch. Inc.com has him on the list of 20 digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Oanalytica named him No.1 Global Content Marketing Influencer. BizHUMM ranks him as the world’s No.1 business blogger.”
So why is this phenomenon no longer such an essential part of advertising strategies?
I think it’s because not everything new and flashy is right for advertising.
In fact, I think grownups do it the other way round.
I think you start with the brand and work out the media that best fits the message and the audience you want.
I don’t think the job is to grab the latest shiny media gimmick and shoehorn whatever brand you’re working on into it.
I don’t think that’s how grownups should do business.