SK Telecom resorts to Pokémon Go partnership in bid to build buzz

SK Telecom has recently signed a marketing partnership agreement with Pokémon Go creator Niantic, two months after the game was released in the Korean market.

Although the game was a worldwide phenomenon throughout 2016, it was only January when the game was released in Korea, largely recognised as one of the worlds’ largest e-gaming markets. As part of the agreement, new and existing SK Telecom customers will get free and unlimited high-speed data for Pokémon GO gaming in Korea, though this will not include game updates.

“SK Telecom is excited to enter into a meaningful partnership with Niantic, a leading gaming app developer in the world,” said Lee Inn-chan, Head of Service Innovation Division of SK Telecom. “Starting with this partnership, SK Telecom will join hands with more companies across the globe to collaborate in advanced technologies to provide customers with differentiated value and experience.”

Also in the agreement, the 4000 authorized retail stores will become PokéStops or Gyms. This tactic has been put to good use in other regions around the world, but more in places where impulse buys are more common. A prime example of this experiential marketing is McDonald’s in the US.

Here, 3000 restaurants in the country were converted into Gyms to attract customers onto the premises. This makes sense as impulse purchases in McDonald’s are commonplapartnership ce – your correspondent was tempted into a McFlurry this weekend – however we are sceptical as to whether SK Telecom can replicate this success as there are few impulse purchases people would make in a mobile phone store.

Whether this will be viewed as innovative or desperate marketing depends on your current mood, but it does open up the new ideas for marketing partnerships. Deutsche Telekom could partner Hello Kitty to soften the German stereotype, Telefónica could tie up with Monopoly to build credibility in its money management abilities and Orange with Clash of Clans, just to prove the French don’t lose every conflict.

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