Pokemon: Masters of sex…?

From the title of this week’s post, I am going to assume that whoever is reading this already has thousands of doubts about the potential nature of what I am about to present. Well trust me it is a doozy and also brings to light an interesting conversation surrounding the use of hashtags.

This week’s post was suggested by a classmate of mine and has been potentially one of the most entertaining weeks of research I have ever conducted. It was brought to my attention that one of my favourite franchises, Pokémon, was trending on twitter but for maybe not the right reasons. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted there to be a Pokémon game for your mobile phone. I didn’t always have access to the ever-evolving Nintendo devices that the new games were being released on and having a mobile game would have scratched this itch. Well, thankfully after I got a job and became independent and could actually afford to keep up with the franchise, they release a mobile game, go figure. The game in question is Pokémon Masters EX. Now, as any good game development company would have done, a marketing effort was launched to alert the already loyal fan base of the exciting new game on a new platform.

A quick google search can answer what I am about to tell you however I am going to explain it anyway. Stimulating a conversation around your product or service is an excellent way to market something through word of mouth. In a digital sense, hashtags do the same thing on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Digital advertising is rapidly becoming one of the most effective types of advertising because of the insane audience reach potential it holds. The Pokémon company dove straight into this hashtag technique with some passion, however, there is something that was maybe not thought all the way through.

As some of you may know, when you use a hashtag, the words are pushed together to form one long word that can still be deciphered. When you push Pokémon Masters EX together to form a hangtag, the glorious end result is #pokemonmastersex. As a connoisseur of all things inappropriate, let me break down what this hashtag could be read as to the untrained eye. The hashtag could indicate that these lovable Pokémon creatures are masters of love making. Now, because the internet is so fantastic, this hashtag was trending No.1 globally on twitter for a while. From one perspective it would seem that this was a mistake made by the Pokémon franchise that was capitalised by the unforgiving claws of the internet. However, from an advertising perspective, was this a brilliant move that played straight into their hands.         

No matter how you look at it, the hashtag did extremely well. The old adage “bad press is better than no press at all” sort of comes into play in this instance. The hashtag brought an insane amount of attention to the game and as it stands has over 300,000 downloads on the app store alone and has earned an estimated $4 million dollars in revenue. The game has also mostly positive reviews and continues at a steady pace. It really makes you think, was this hashtag an unfortunate mistake or a well thought out plan that worked brilliantly.

This isn’t the first example of a company’s or individuals doing something similar. I am sure you all remember Susan Boyal, the runner up on Britain’s got talent. Her second album was released in 2012, and to celebrate this her PR team came up with a creative hashtag that absolutely caught the worlds attention. #susanalbumparty was trending globally for reasons I feel like do not need to be explored. Spaced out, it should read Susan Album Party, which is not what it is known as. Her album went on to sell over 250,000 copies globally which is amazing for someone who came second on Britain’s Got Talent almost 4 years prior don’t you think?

We can debate all day if Pokémon’s hashtag was a mistake or not, regardless the sales of the game speak for themselves. It is popular and is still on the top chart’s moths after its release. Unlucky mistake or a genius marketing move, we may never know but either way it is brilliant.

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