- "Pokémon Go" on Friday challenged players in New York to help defeat Team Go Rocket, a fictional group of villainous hackers who invaded PokeStops throughout the city, per information shared with Mobile Marketer. Digital out-of-home (OOH) displays such as posters and billboards suddenly crashed as Pikachu creative was replaced with displays from Team Go Rocket's Meowth, Jessie and James characters.
- Players of the location-based augmented reality game who walked near the affected PokeStops could challenge Team Go Rocket for a chance to catch a villain's Shadow Pokémon. The game then requires players, who are called "trainers," to go through a process of "purifying" the Shadow Pokémon.
- "Pokémon Go" hinted at the Team Go Rocket takeover with a campaign that started on July 22 as thousands of OOH and digital OOH placements featuring Pikachu went up across Manhattan. The game's official Twitter account also teased the arrival of Team Go Rocket and reported sightings of the villains. OOH company Billups partnered with creator Niantic and creative agency Wieden + Kennedy on the campaign.
The staged "hack" of "Pokémon Go" by the fictional Team Go Rocket was a clever way to generate more interest in the popular location-based augmented reality (AR) game. Billboards and posters that urged mobile users to "Team up, go outside and skyrocket as Pokémon trainers" took on a new twist when their digital OOH versions showed signs of being hacked. Fresh game content such as collectible Shadow Pokémon likely helped to generate excitement for Pokémon trainers, who were urged to share sightings of Team Go Rocket on social media using the #TeamGoRocket hashtag.
Many brands have combined their OOH advertising with a mobile component that seeks to engage existing and potential new customers. OOH advertising not only is a powerful channel that urges consumers to visit physical locations, but it also can generate a measurable response through mobile devices. Food ordering app Ritual this year ran a six-week test OOH campaign that urged mobile users to download its app after sending an SMS text to a dedicated messaging account. Brazilian footwear brand Havaianas this month installed a mural at the entrance to the Venice Beach Boardwalk in Southern California that doubled as a mobile commerce experience. Fast food chain Wingstop this year hosted a "Flavor World" tour that combined mobile, social media and OOH ads to engage customers at select locations throughout the country.
Spending on out-of-home (OOH) advertising grew 4.5% in 2018 over the previous year to reach $8 billion, per the Out of Home Advertising Association of America (OAAA). Digital OOH represented 29% of the total 2018 OOH revenue, but there were also increases in the four main formats: billboards, street furniture, transit and place-based.
"Pokémon Go" in May added new content to support the box-office release of "Pokémon Detective Pikachu," a movie based on the entertainment franchise. Marketing campaigns and tie-ins help to support the groundbreaking location-based game three years after its initial release. Players have spent $2.65 billion on the game, putting it on track to cross the $3 billion threshold this year, per an estimate from researcher Sensor Tower. Meanwhile, Niantic has yet to see the same success with other location-based AR games such as "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite," which was released last month.