Can Playing Pokémon Go Boost Your Business?

Aug 22, 2016

If the animated character business doesn’t pan out, Pikachu and his Pokémon colleagues could always try selling real estate.

Pokémon, for the uninitiated, are a gang of fantasy characters that were first introduced in Nintendo’s Game Boy video game system and have since grown to encompass a toy and media franchise that includes card games, figurines, books, television shows, movies, and more.

Most recently, the franchise has grabbed the public’s attention via Pokémon Go, a computerized reality game that lets people search for and collect these fictional characters in the real world. Released in June of this year, the game has been downloaded more than 100 million times. And as its popularity has grown, its influence has begun to pop up in a variety of unexpected places — the real estate market, for instance.

Boosting Appeal

In an article for Atlas Obscura, writers Cara Giaimo and Sarah Laskow highlighted a number of Craigslist ads citing Pokémon-related perks as amenities.

In Brooklyn, Obscura and Giaimo found an East Williamsburg apartment advertising “a Pokémon Go gym nearby,” as well as a pair of Park Slope residents whose ad included this note: “We live above a poke stop, so if you are an aspiring Pokémon Go Master: Unlimited Razz Berries. Go crazy.”

Listings in Nashville, TN, Quincy, MA, and Redmond, WA, likewise are hoping to lure renters and buyers by advertising nearby Pokémon Go-related locations.

In on the Game

CNBC, meanwhile, found a Manhattan real estate agent using the promise of Pokémon character Pikachu to market a $1.5 million apartment.

And it’s not just on the agent side. Stacey Van Roosendaal, a loan officer with Utah-based lender Capital Assets Financial Services (pictured below), has been using Pokémon Go to generate potential mortgage business.

Stacey Van Roosendaal 2015

“I grew up with Pokémon, and I always loved it, but I hadn’t really thought about it for years,” Van Roosendaal says. But when the Pokémon Go craze took off this summer, she realized the game could be a great way to get her foot in the door with new customers.

“I had already met some people playing Pokémon Go, and I knew it was the type of game where the people who played are open to meeting new people and talking to new people,” she says. And that gave her the idea that they might also be interested in talking about real estate.

“I kind of approach people [when playing the game] to say, ‘Hey, I’ll let you know when I find a cool [Pokémon] and you let me know as well, and, by the way, I do mortgages,'” she says. “I give them my card, and it says on there who I am and what I do, and that usually strikes up a conversation.”

In the several weeks since she started playing, Van Roosendaal says she’s given out her card to 30 or 40 players, including a local house flipper who she says is “definitely a future prospect” for a loan.

“A lot of people think it’s just 10-year-olds running around playing Pokémon Go,” she says, “but it’s not.”

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