Since its debut on Monday, people in Hong Kong are going crazy for Pokémon GO and brands are going out of their way to cash in.
Asia has been waiting on tenterhooks for Pokémon GO since it was first launched in several markets including Australia and the United States on July 7.
This week it finally arrived in Hong Kong.
#PokemonGO is now available in Hong Kong! Put on your shoes, step outside, and explore the world with Pokémon GO.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) July 25, 2016
In the few days since its launch, the top five most downloaded free apps in the Hong Kong iTunes Store are all related (officially and unofficially) to Pokémon GO.
There’s not a brand in Hong Kong it would seem that hasn’t found a way to jump on the Pokémon bandwagon.
Uber is leading the way offering Pokémon trainers the chance to go into the running to win three hours of free rides. Players with more than 150 Pokémon need to rename one of the little critters with the hashtag #UberGOHK.
The user enters the competition by posting a screen shot of the collection to their Facebook account and tagging three friends.
Uber will select 30 winners on Friday. New Uber users are eligible for a HK$100 discount on their first ride by using the promotional code POKEMONHK.
Hot on Uber’s heels is local taxi hailing venture, Didi Chuxing (locally known as Kuaidi) which is inviting Pokémon trainers to hail a Didi taxi using the app.
The first 100 riders who catch Pokémon in a Didi taxi, post and comment a picture on the company’s Facebook page win an iTunes/Google Play Gift Card valued at HK$200.
Food delivery service, Deliveroo, has introduced a Poke-Roo Go Challenge. For a chance to win HK$1000 in Deliveroo Credits, Pokémon Trainers must submit a screenshot of a Pokémon with a Deliveroo logo in the background to the company’s Facebook comment section and tag three friends to enter.
Pacific Coffee is offering Pokémon Trainers a free upgrade on any beverage when they show a Pikachu on their phone at the counter.
Bars and restaurants are coming up with all sorts of creative ways to bring Pokémon Trainers in their doors. Premium cocktail bar, The Woods for example, is offering a Pokémon inspired beverage and complimentary WiFi and the promise of a nearby Pokéstop.
Hotels are also cashing in. Ovolo Southside is doing a similar promotion to The Woods with Pokémon-themed cocktails, charging stations, free WiFi and lures.
Premium dating site Matching Loves will have a speed dating Pokémon GO Training party at Hong Kong’s Tamar Park on Sunday afternoon for singles. Candidates must call ahead to confirm their attendance and places are limited to 20 people.
Even recruiters are getting in on the act. Recruitment website Jobable, is advertising for a Pokémon Trainer to serve its Hong Kong team. Jobable is seeking someone who likes “adventure” and whose “life dream” is to become a “Pokémon Master”.
Interested applicants can meet at a Meeting Pokéstop in the city’s Quarry Bay and compete with other interested job seekers to find the most Pokémon in an hour. The winner receives HK$1500 and the runner-up receives HK$500.
Conclusion – time is of the essence
All of these brands have put their campaigns together quickly – within a week of the Hong Kong Pokémon launch. In many cases, these localized campaigns are being promoted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get the message out quickly. In the case of Uber for example, an official release is yet to appear on its website.
Welcome to the age of disruption, where marketing is in the moment. Marketing teams for brands wishing to gain first mover credentials have had to think fast and act even quicker. For marketers in countries and regions yet to get Pokémon, there should be some good lessons here from brands in Hong Kong to be on-your-marks and ready to go.
*Nicholas Fuchs assisted with this story
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