Tuesday, July 26, 2016

#empoplaaybizz PokeSTOP! Or, James Kim is NOT a marketing genius

PYMNTS and Uproxx and TMZ are reporting that "branding genius" James Kim has a revolutionary idea.

1. Trademark the term Pokestop.
2. Reach a licensing agreement with Nintendo, the Pokémon Company, and/or Niantic.
3. Open a chain of cafes called Pokestops to cater to the Pokémon Go-loving public.

So assume that Nintendo et al are extremely happy with the idea of giving Kim a cut of the money, and that the trademarks are approved, and that locations are selected. In a best-case scenario, we'll start seeing these "Pokestops" in...

...well, in 2017 if everything goes perfectly. If things get bogged down with litigation and zoning restrictions (imagine your average city council approving a restaurant that is designed to have a bunch of people milling around), the process could take years.

By which time the Pokémon Go fanaticism may have faded just a little bit.

Now I am not world-renowned like James Kim is, but I have a way to use Pokémon Go to drum up business at your establishment that does NOT require trademark battles, licensing agreements, franchise agreements, or anything else. Sit back.

1. Open a restaurant or café.

That's actually the hardest part in this whole thing. Opening food establishments is hard, and keeping them open is harder. But once you've done that, you can move on to step 2.

2. Buy incense by the gallon.

Now I'm not talking about any kind of incense. I'm talking about Pokémon Go incense, a purchasable game item that attracts Pokémon to the location for 1/2 hour.

Note that I said incense, not lures. Lures can only be used in certain locations called Pokestops, and if you're restaurant isn't a Pokestop, you're out of luck. But incense can be used anywhere, even if a Pokestop is kilometers away. (This is a Niantic worldwide game. Niantic doesn't use miles.)

To buy incense, you need 1,250 PokeCoins to buy 25 units of incense. Since each unit of incense lasts 30 minutes, 25 units will last for just about a full day at a restaurant. And in real money, the 1,250 PokeCoins can be had for a little over $10.

Spend $20 over a weekend, and potentially attract customers who will spend much more than $20. Sounds like a winner to me.

But how do the players know to come to your restaurant or café? Do you have to engage in activities that bring Nintendo lawyers down on you? Not necessarily.

3. Put up a sign in your restaurant/café that says, "We buy incense."

Now I've actually seen huge banners with official Pokémon Go logos on them, and perhaps the lawyers will even let those stay up. But if they don't, a simple "we have incense" sign - coupled with word of mouth - will serve the same purpose.

And if Pokémon Go turns out to be a fad that dies before Christmas, your restaurant can quit buying the incense every weekend and move on to the next idea. And you've saved all the trademark and licensing and permit fees that James Kim is going to be paying.
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