From its inception in 1996 as a role-playing game for the GameBoy, Pokemon has gone on to become one of the world’s most recognized franchises and has evolved to encompass an anime film series, books, card games, video games, merchandise, music, and a theme park. The release of Detective Pikachu marks the first live-action debut of the popular franchise and has gone on record to have the biggest opening weekend for a video game adaption so far.
The hype surrounding a live-action Pokemon movie was evident from the beginning. From the moment the first trailer is released, it was a hot topic for discussion and became a top trending video on Youtube and social media sites. The timing could not be any more perfect either as it was released around the same time as Nintendo’s Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! Games for the Nintendo Switch platform while the famous Surprised Pikachu meme was at the peak of its popularity which gave its advertising a boost.
As the film moves closer to its release, Ryan Reynolds who lent his voice to the titular character joined the marketing effort by sharing teasers for the movie and a couple of videos about the preparation he undertook to get in character for the role. Marketing for the film reached its peak when a suspicious user uploaded a video to Youtube purporting to be a full leaked version of the movie. Ryan Reynolds himself called attention to the leak that turned out to be a full hour and forty minutes long video of Pikachu dancing to upbeat music and has accumulated more than 20 million views so far.
The hype surrounding the film and the popularity of the Pokemon franchise is sure to draw in brands looking to share marketing exposure. As part of the movie’s promotion, partnerships were forged between the franchise and other brands. The following is a list of partnerships that have been done to promote the film.
For a limited time, 7-Eleven will be offering a variety of Detective Pikachu themed items, sharable photo filters, and an augmented reality (AR) experience via its app. Patrons who visit participating 7-Eleven stores can enjoy new Hi-Hat mocha and Slurpee flavors at a lowered price. The Mystery Slurpee Sweepstakes offers Instagram users a year of free Slurpees to those who can guess the flavors in the new Mystery Slurpee drink. Lastly, the new Pokemon-themed AR experience in the 7-Eleven app sends users on “quests” with the chance to obtain exclusive offers that can be used in the store.
Burger King will once again promote the Pokemon franchise after 20 years. The fast-food chain is offering 6 different Pokemon collectibles to go with its King Jr meals. The first collaboration between Burger King and Pokemon was back in 1999, where it assisted in the promotion of Pokemon’s first movie by offering a set of toys paired with trading cards.
GSC, MBO & TGV
Buy 2 tickets for Detective Pikachu at GSC, MBO & TGV and stand a chance of redeeming 1 exclusive Detective Pikachu trading card at the counter only on the 8th of May from 6pm – 10pm at participating outlets.
Fashion retailer H&M launched a new collection of apparel in line with the release of the Detective Pikachu movie. The new clothing line took inspiration from the Pokemon franchise and will also include characters from the film as well.
As Detective Pikachu moves closer to its debut, Google launched the POKÉMON Detective Pikachu Playmoji pack in Playground that includes 4 Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, Charizard, Jigglypuff, and Mr. Mime. All Pokemon feature animation and sounds are taken from the movie and can interact with the environment around them. The app allows players to place the digital Pokemon in real life environments and from the camera’s perspective, will look like they are really there. For those who are unaware, Google Playground is an Augmented Reality app that allows users to place animated stickers in the real world. There is a variety of sticker packs to choose from and the app also gives users recommendations to assist in choosing the right sticker for the right moments.
Tech accessory designer Casetify offered Pokemon-themed cases and accessories ahead of the movie’s release. Customers can choose from a variety of designs that will come in 3 Drops at different dates and each with its own unique style.
The hype and popularity surrounding the Pokemon franchise the work of 2 decades of success. In that time, Pokemon had managed to maintain a strong fan base through innovative changes and calculative risk taking. Pokemon is a strong example of a brand that has managed to permeate everyday life and has everyone talking about it. Even those who aren’t Pokemon fans will recognize Pikachu. If anything, the release of Detective Pikachu is a sign that the franchise is still going strong and will continue well into the future.
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