Use PokemonGO at Your Next Event – If It Fits These Criteria

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I used PokemonGO to promote my event this past weekend and I’d highly recommend it!  The event was a stem cell drive, and we got 187 people registered. Canadian Blood Services’ Donor Relations Director just told us that it was one of the most successful stem cell drives of the year!

Going into this weekend, I was a little worried about using PokemonGO since in the last 2 months, it made a bunch of changes and pissed off alot of people, and has been increasingly unpopular. But I’m so glad that I did use PokemonGO to promote the event!

Before the event, I checked the location of the booth, and asked my friend who lived nearby to check if there were any Pokestops nearby. There was one right next to it!   I downloaded the game and bought a set of ‘lures’, and set them up – each lasts half an hour – intermittently during the event.  A ‘lure’ shows up on PokemonGo players’ games as a shower of confetti, and can be seen from blocks away.  Lures attract them to come because there would be many more Pokemons to catch while a lure is active.  When we had a lure set up, I got one of the volunteer to hold up a sign that says “Lures brought to you by OtherHalf – Chinese Stem Cell Initiative” (our organization).  I also drew one of the Pokemon, Chansey, and wrote “Here’s your ‘Chansey’ to save a life!” as a play on the word ‘chance’. It worked! Here’s someone who came by our booth in his Pokemon gear and signed up, with one of our volunteers, Gabi:

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I also had another sign that said “Get Swabbed. Get a Jolt of Good Karma”, and painstakingly drew Pikachu in his exact cuteness.  We held this up no matter if we had a lure going or not.  My volunteers holding the signs told me that it seems the Pikachu and the Pokemon GO logo visually drew in the passerbys the most.  If they were interested in reading the rest of the sign, the volunteers would approach them and see if they wanted to sign up for the stem cell registry.  Here’s our volunteer Victor with two other PokemonGo players who came by our booth and signed up!
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If your event fits these 3 criteria below, I would highly recommend using PokemonGO to promote it. It’s super-low risk, and high reward.  If you’re already a PokemonGO player, you may already have some free lures. If not, it’s around $13 to buy about 15 lures.

Criteria 1: Outdoors and High-Traffic

It’s important that your event is close to a Pokestop, but that alone with the lures will no longer bring the crowds. Your event needs to be where the people already are, so that they can see the signs.  For that to happen, the best would be if your event was part of some sort of outdoor event or festival.

Criteria 2: The Younger Crowd

If your event is aimed at the younger crowd who were or still playing PokemonGO, then go ahead and try this out. The stem cell registry requires that only people between the ages 17-35 sign up, and that is precisely who we attracted with the lures and the signs.  This also works better if your volunteers are also in that age range.  Note that you will also have very young kids who don’t play PokemonGO but who may have watched Pokemon on TV asking you where Pikachu is; explain at your own discretion.

Criteria 3: Follow-through

The lures and signs would not have sealed the deal, if not for my amazingly enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers who followed through, holding up the signs, approaching passerbys and providing them with more information about the stem cell registry.  They also told me that alot of passerbys stopped and told them that they were not interested in PokemonGO or didn’t play it anymore – no matter, as long as we got the passerbys to stop and take notice, we still talked to them about the stem cell registry!  In that way, PokemonGO’s increasing unpopularity actually worked in our favor.

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Go ahead and try it out at your next event! Have you used PokemonGO at an event? How did it work out for you?

Would you be interested in helping out at the next stem cell drive (in the Greater Vancouver or Victoria area)? If so, message me and let me know!

  • mybmdway September 9, 2016 at 12:28 am

    It is a great idea! May I put this article on my blog , and translate it into madarin ?

    • Mandy Pui September 9, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Hi mybmdway, thanks, glad you like it!
      Sure, go ahead. Please link it back to my website, thanks!