Jurassic World Eats Pokémon Go at Augmented Reality App Marketing

Two years ago, Pokémon Go made waves as the first really successful augmented reality app to gain a broad user base. This year, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the summer’s latest blockbuster, and a geolocation augmented reality app may just be its secret marketing weapon.

Two years ago, Pokémon Go made waves as the first really successful augmented reality app to gain a broad user base. While the mobile game was a stand-alone product and not marketing, it left us asking: “What could AR technology do for marketers?” This year, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is the summer’s latest blockbuster, and a geolocation augmented reality app may just be its secret marketing weapon.

Pokémon go was not insignificant for marketers. It broke ground by getting users to engage in a geolocation-based augmented reality experience (which continues to this day, the game still has a significant user base and recently added new features). And it was one of the first AR experiences to offer location-based digital advertising.

But Pokémon Go is a game, not a marketing experience. While it offers sponsorship opportunities, it does little to prove the role AR can play in a marketing campaign. That’s where Jurassic World Alive is different.

The New Breed of Branded Augmented Reality

This new, geolocation augmented reality game is, as Polygon puts it, “Pokémon Go, but With Dinosaurs.” And while it is stand-alone game with its own revenue model via in-game purchases, the entire experience was created through a partnership between Universal and Ludia, with built-in partnerships with AMC and Walmart.

The "News" tab on Jurassic World Alive links directly to the brand's social media pages and advertises that tickets can be purchased at your local AMC.
The “News” tab on Jurassic World Alive links directly to the brand’s social media pages and advertises that tickets can be purchased at your local AMC. | Credit: Jurassic World Alive by Thorin McGee

It should be noted that Ludia was not a part of Pokémon Go, and has developed several games on its own beyond Jurassic World Alive. So this type of game is not limited to certain developers. If you wanted to pursue one for your own brand, you should look for a studio like Ludia to help create it.

An important brand impression is made every time the user opens the app. And the game itself lines up perfectly with the theme of the movie, which sees the Jurassic World dinosaurs escape into our world.

There are several in-game mechanisms that allow Universal to use the app as a marketing base. For example, an in-game message system allows the brand to send marketing messages to every player. And an in-game news feed lights up with notifications whenever a new offer hits. The news section also links to the movie’s social media properties, and has a prominent banner reminding players to get their tickets at any local AMC.

Like Velociraptors, AR Marketers Hunt in Packs

The partnerships with Walmart and AMC are built right into the app. Each brand has special “supply drops” at its locations that give players generous bonuses for entering the storefront and engaging.

When Walmart has a new supply drop, players are greeted with a full-page ad telling them to pick it up a their local Walmart.

The nearest AMC is that red dot in the background. The big crocodile is a "Sarcosuchus."
The nearest AMC is that red dot in the background. The big crocodile is a “Sarcosuchus.” | Credit: Juassic World Alive by Thorin McGee

The AMC partnership is more prominent in the game. In addition to the call to action to visit AMC to pick up your tickets, “nearby” AMC locations are also marked on the player map, even if the closest one is miles away. Inside, the supply drop is very generous, especially over the movie’s opening weekend. I understnad the digital swag given away was enough to sway several gaming movie-goers I know to visit the closest AMC over competing chains.

AR apps and geolocation have come a long way for digital marketing purposes. They’re not right for all brands, but when the brand opportunity lines up with the features of the platform, it’s a great chance to change the rules of your customer experience.

How do they fit into your marketing strategy? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Pokémon Go Finally Gets Augmented Reality Right

We here at Target Marketing have tried to get behind augmented reality on several occasions. I even once said “of course QR Codes are gonna work, it just makes sense!” Scott Stratten said they killed kittens. Turns out he was right. So imagine my chagrin to see Pokemon — a bunch of Bulbasaurs and Jigglypuffs led by an electric rat — role out an augmented reality experience that conquered the world in less than a week.

We here at Target Marketing have tried to get behind augmented reality (AR) on several occasions. QR Codes on the cover, Layar throughout the issue, some goofy stuff in our digital editions …

I even once said, “Of course QR Codes are gonna work, it just makes sense!” Scott Stratten said they killed kittens. Turns out he was right.

So imagine my chagrin to see Pokémon — a bunch of Bulbasaurs and Jigglypuffs led by an electric rat — roll out an augmented reality experience that conquered the world in less than a week.

Pokémon Go leaves Tindr too wet to light, aiming for Twitter next.
Pokémon Go leaves Tindr too damp to light, aiming for Twitter next.

In less than a week, the free Pokémon Go app, available on Android, iOS and the Nintendo DS handheld game, is on its way past Twitter in active users, and already bigger than Tindr. (Does that mean Millennials prefer catching Charizards to dating?)

And the player base isn’t so much kids (although there’s a lot of them too), but young adults who grew up with the earlier Pokémon games.

What does all of that mean for marketers? Here are five things I’ve learned watching the electric yellow rat take over the world … again.

1. There’s a Way to do Augmented Reality Right

I think a lot of marketers have seen that, when it comes to augmented reality, just because you build it does not mean they’ll come. The novelty of augmented reality isn’t enough, and neither is getting a piece of your web content launched from a ketchup bottle or whatever else your trigger is.

Pokémon Go is a game that asks players to walk around outside to capture Pokémon hiding out in he world. And players are doing that! Social media is full of jokes about the fact that young adults are running around all over cities and the suburbs to catch Pokémon. It’s working.

How is that different from what we did in Target Marketing magazine? Or even what Google offered with Google Glass? Well for starters it’s an experience that is 100 percent designed to be augmented reality. Pokémon go doesn’t treat AR as just a way to access existing content on a new device, it is an AR-only experience. If you want those Pokémon, you have to take your phone for a walk.

It’s also a very novel experience that’s put together well. Nantic Labs, the company that actually developed the game for Nintendo, has been doing similar games for a long time. They know how to deliver an experience that gets the best out of the platform. That’s essential to a successful AR experience.

2. Grant the Wish

An article on Vox made a great point about why this game is such a hit with young adults:

Pokémon Go is an attempt at realizing what fans always wanted from Pokémon … Since the games came out for Nintendo’s handheld consoles, fans all around the world have shared a dream: What if Pokémon weren’t limited to the games’ world? What if they were real and inhabited our world? What if we could all be Ash Ketchum, the TV show’s star trainer, who wanders the world in his quest to catch them all and earn his honors by defeating all the gym leaders? I want a Pikachu in real life, dammit!
—”Pokémon Go Explained,” German Lopez, Vox

Every market has an ungranted wish. If you can find that wish and make it come true, they will love you for it.

Pokémon Go lets fans who grew up watching these cartoons and playing these games break that wall they never could and hunt Pokémon in real life.

What does your target market want that no one’s ever been able to give them? Maybe it’s not a specific thing, but a way to access a product or service, like Uber putting taxis at the tap of an app. Maybe it’s an experience they could never have before, like Pokémon Go.

Identify that wish and think hard about how you could do it. You may have five or 10 years of new technology to make something happen that no one realized could be done before.

3. No, You Can’t Buy a Pokéstop