In the summer of 2022, Pokémon GO players—or “Trainers”—noticed mysterious sightings of Pokémon throughout our hallmark global live events known collectively as “Pokémon GO Fest.” While Pokémon appearing in our live events isn’t out of the ordinary, something was different about these Pokémon—something extradimensional. As our final Pokémon GO Fest of 2022 concluded, we revealed footage of these strange Pokémon running across Germany at terrific speeds, jumping great heights around the Space Needle in Seattle, and emanating electricity atop buildings in Japan! The volume of conversation around these Pokémon exploded as reports continued to roll out. We eventually confirmed that these were Pokémon called Ultra Beasts and that they were invading the world of Pokémon GO for the first time!
As the last Pokémon GO Fest began, these Pokémon started to appear in Raid Battles around the world. And with every new Ultra Beast appearance, the global community rallied to fight off these extradimensional threats!
The “invasive” nature of Ultra Beasts provided a storytelling hook that we wanted to explore. Our objective was to create a campaign that built up to a climactic “Ultra Beast Invasion” finale and encourage Trainers—new, former, and veteran—to join forces and defend the world of Pokémon GO. To do so, we leveraged Niantic’s strengths in augmented reality geolocation-based gameplay while also staying true to the rich lore that The Pokémon Company has built as their foundation for these Pokémon.
Our team worked together to bring an immersive experience to the world of Pokémon GO through a multi-month real-world/in-game hybrid campaign that climaxed with an Ultra Beast global takeover at the end of November 2022.
Phase 1: Proof of Arrival - Cross-Platform Social - Found Footage-Style Videos - Aug–Nov
Our campaign kicked off through a series of videos that we published as each Ultra Beast arrived in Pokémon GO. These videos, structured as reports, documented footage of Trainers witnessing Ultra Beasts appearing in various parts of the world.
Phase 2: Gathering Intel - Cross-Platform Social - Nov 18–20
In light of these sightings, we put out a call for our Trainers to report their own Ultra Beast sightings using an AR feature in Pokémon GO. Trainers around the world submitted their photos with the #GOSnapshot hashtag, which we then amplified.
Phase 3: Reporting Our Findings and Raising the Alarm - Twitter / Web / Hashtag - Nov 21
After analyzing our user-generated sightings, we announced our findings via a dedicated landing page (https://pokemongolive.com/ultrabeastarrival). We reported that a surge in Ultra Beast activity was imminent, with two key cities as prime locations for an initial incursion. To raise the alarm, we launched the #UltraBeastArrival hashtag.
Phase 4: Gathering Our Forces - Out of Home / In-Game / Cross-Platform Social / Influencers - Nov 21–Nov 26
The next phase of the campaign leveraged all of our marketing channels in an integrated push that encouraged Trainers to gather their friends and family and face the imminent arrival of Ultra Beasts.
Grassroots-style posters in the real world, plus air-dropped balloons, PokéStops, and gifts in-game
Recruitment kits sent to our Community Ambassadors and influencers to share among their communities
Newspapers highlighting the imminent Ultra Beast arrival in various key markets
A social campaign with an impending countdown to the Ultra Beast arrival, plus additional found footage-style videos
Phase 5: #UltraBeastArrival: First Contact in London and Los Angeles - Real-World Immersion & Extended Reality - Nov 26
As a precursor to the global Ultra Beast Arrival event, we showcased the magic that differentiates Pokémon GO from other games in two key locations: Hollywood and London. Trainers enjoyed gameplay that blended the in-game experience with the real world. Through projections, we “extended reality” and showcased Ultra Beasts emerging from Ultra Wormholes in the real world at the same time and location as their appearances in-game.
Our Hollywood activation also added an additional layer of magic through a live news broadcast. Through this livestream, we leveraged our local events to drive global awareness for the finale event.
Phase 6: #UltraBeastArrival: Global - Global In-Game Event / Cross-Platform Social - Nov 27
In the culmination of our campaign, Trainers around the world immersed themselves in our storyline by taking part in a global Raid Day event featuring all of the Ultra Beasts that had appeared in Pokémon GO to date.
90,000,000 impressions and 60,000,000 total engagements across all social channels
Specific Ultra Beast mentions increased by +2,680%
Increase of 198,000 TikTok followers (+40% growth over campaign period)
18,000 uses of #UltraBeastArrival = 340,000,000+ reach
3,500 Trainer participants in the Los Angeles and London real-world activations
300,000 livestream viewers
Millions of Trainers that participated in the climactic Finale Raid Day
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