“Trainers are welcome here!” boasts Gaze Seed Company during the height of a Pokemon Go craze that’s taken the world by storm.
Pokemon Go is a new augmented reality game for your phone, and one that’s been credited with undoing the stigma that games and technology have made millennials “less social and active.” The game not only encourages, but requires gamers to get off their couch and out into the real world among like-minded people.
Essentially, Pokemon Go uses your phone’s maps and camera function to let you “see” virtual monsters and animals in the real world, if you’re near them and pointing your phone at them. Once you have one in your sights, you throw a ball at it, dodgeball style, to capture them.
The app has been forcing people to get out into their city and catch characters in the game. And it’s really working – the war memorial downtown has never seen so many people hanging out as it did this past weekend, and those people were participating in good old fashioned fun: being outside, seeing your city, interacting with like-minded folks in the real world (albeit via virtual reality), and getting some fresh air.
There were enough people crawling around downtown throwing virtual balls at virtual monsters this weekend that local businesses had to have benefitted from the hungry bellies and thirsty pallets of Pokemon players. All but one business anyway.
Yellowbelly’s brewmaster made a joke that went horribly wrong, when he warned people not to set Pokemon lures near his place of work. People who know the man, know he’s big-hearted and best kind, but the end result was a barrage of negative comments, and a drastic lowering of their star rating on Facebook and Yelp in retaliation.
He has apologized for and clarified the comment, and time will tell if Newfoundlanders are as quick to hear a man out as they are to tear him down. Some haven chosen forgiveness, some chose further wrath, and others questioned “the battles kids pick these days.”
As one commenter put it, “Cops kill innocent black folks, on camera, several times in a month, and we all carry on just fine. But mess with Pokemon Go, and gamers will band together to run you out of business? Priorities, people – this speaks to how hateful and negative the people in this city are becoming.”
Quidi Vidi Brewery chose to capitalize on the rage against Yellowbelly by posting a pic of Pikachu drinking a pint with the line, “Catch em all, drink em all … Pokemon friendly since ’96.” People were divided on whether the opportunistic marketing was whip smart and community-building, or if it was a little un-collegial to kick a fellow brewery when it’s down.
Gaze Seed Company on the other hand, saw and are seizing the opportunity the Pokemon Go craze provides retailers. They’re offering a free begonia or lily flower bulb with any purchase if you show them your Pokemon Go app.
“We’ve also put in an application with Niantic to become a PokeStop, so expect plenty of Lures once that’s set up.”
In a nutshell, gamers can drop a lure at an official “Pokestop” to attract Pokémon for a while, which attracts a swaths of gamers to the area. (Sadly, at least once, criminals have dropped a lure, and then mugged the people who came running.)
For Gaze Seed Compnay, Pokemon Go is every retailer’s dream: literally luring potential customers to your doorstep. Gaze Seed Company are out of the gates as the first local retailer to embrace that: Get your game on here, and get a free begonia or lily bulb.