Pokémon Go a Hit in College Station, TX


By Gerry Logan, CPRE|Posted on August 10, 2016

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How we spent almost nothing and had one of our most successful events of the year.

 

Pokémon Go has been sweeping the nation as both today’s younger generation and millennials who grew up playing the original versions are congregating by the thousands to “Catch ‘Em All.” We saw an opportunity to put our knowledge and event organizational skills to good use to host something incredibly successful, yet extraordinarily simple, for our community.

 

One of the more fun aspects to the game is walking around parks and other urban areas seeking out the various kinds of Pokémon. The game has several tools within the system to make this process of catching Pokémon easier. The most popular method, and how to really attract those hardcore gamers, is through the use of “lures.” Lures attract Pokémon, but can only be used at Pokéstops. This is where we saw an opportunity to host something with great potential, as our city’s primary event venue, Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater and Festival Site, had a large number of Pokéstops within the park. This was made even easier when we were able to partner with a local radio station, Candy 95, to make this work. Like our own department, Candy 95 had several passionate Pokémon players, and we all saw the potential that this event held.

 

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Photo courtesy of City of College Station

 

Although we were on a time crunch to put together our Pokémon Go event, we were able to add complimentary aspects in a very short time. We were able to bring a charitable aspect to the event through Brazos Valley Food Bank who collected donations on site and Long Way Home Adoptables who raised money by promoting the use of the “Wooftrax” app while playing Pokémon Go. We also had a phone-charging station so players could “Catch ‘Em All” and not worry about draining their batteries. Our local Papa John’s gave away free bottled water, Kona Ice sold snow cones, and we also had other concession items for free and for sale. 

 

Other departments chipped in as well. Our Public Communications department collected a large number of giveaway items from other city departments that we stuffed into goodie bags, and they assisted us in handing out the bags at the event. Participants had to like the city’s Facebook page or follow the city on Twitter in order to get a bag, which assisted in gaining several hundred new social media followers, many of them from a different demographic than is normally reached.

 

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Photo courtesy of City of College Station

 

Our primary form of marketing was through a Facebook event page created by Public Communications which was shared by Candy 95. The event quickly gained a lot of attention from social media shares and we began to expect large attendance numbers in the 500-1,000 person range. However, our estimates were a little off and over 4,000 people showed up! Our only city expense was personnel cost, but that was well worth the return.

 

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Photo courtesy of City of College Station

 

Overall, we were overwhelmed at the positive response from the community. The concept was fairly simple and it just goes to show how popular the game is and how adding some simple elements could drive a really successful event with minimal cost. We encourage all cities to take advantage of this trend in some way and drive traffic to your facilities!

 


What are some innovative ways your agency has taken advantage of Pokémon Go?Check out additional resources in our previous blog, "Harnessing the Pokémon Go Phenomenon."

 

Gerry Logan, CPRE is Special Events Supervisor for City of College Station, TX's Parks and Recreation Department.