The success of Nintendo and Niantic's Pokémon Go has left brands looking for ways to take advantage of its popularity and ability to drive footfall using mobile technology.
While official tie-ins have so far been limited to a partnership with McDonald's in Japan, one business that has seized the opportunity the game present is the LA Zoo, which is currently running a 'PokéWeek' for customers aimed at drawing in those playing the game.
The Zoo boasts over 45 PokéStops, where players can access new in-game items, and will be adding Lure modules to these locations throughout the day, drawing additional players thanks to the chance to capture new Pokémon.
The Lure locations will be shared via the LA Zoo's Twitter feed throughout the day, and players can share photos of Pokémon found at the zoo on Twitter using the hashtag #LAZooPokeWeek for a chance to win membership at the Zoo.
In addition, Pokémon Go players who show the app when buying their ticket can get $3 (£2.30) off admission when arriving at 2pm or later, and players can incubate their eggs (which hatch after a certain distance travelled at walking speed) on the Zoo's slow-but-steady Safari Shuttle.
"Pokémon Go is unique in that the game play is organically integrated into the Zoo experience, without our involvement or control," said Kait Hilliard, vice president of marketing and communications for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. "We are choosing to embrace it while encouraging players to be aware of their surroundings, taking in the real animals that are here, and respecting the other visitors and animals.
"We were having an unrelated event on the first Saturday after the game launched where we observed that people were playing in the Zoo. This led us to assess what game elements were present and realised it was quite substantial: over 45 PokéStops and three Gyms. The level of engagement and presence at the Zoo made it a natural destination for enthusiasts and we wanted to capitalise on that to drive incremental attendance."
The Zoo is currently only planning on running the PokéWeek promotion until this Friday, but may bring it back in the future, and the game elements will continue to be present for players looking to experience some real wildlife while they hunt for the digital monsters.
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