If you ever see Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting a yellow electric rat, you shouldn’t put your money on the Governator.
When it comes to games, only Pokémon and military strategy game Mobile Strike (for iOS and Android) had advertisements during last weekend’s Super Bowl 50. And it turns out that people were much more thrilled to see pocket monsters like Pikachu, Charizard, and Gyarados than Schwarzenegger, who is developer Machine Zone’s key spokesperson for Mobile Strike. The official Pokémon ad has 20 million views on YouTube compared to 13 million for Mobile Strike’s official spot. But according to consumer-sentiment analytics firm Canvs, the difference is even more stark when you examine how Super Bowl viewers felt about the ads. And that reveals how potent a force the Pokémon franchise is — and that it has a lot of potential when it comes to the $30 billion mobile gaming market.
Pokémon has already made $41 billion since the 1990s, but it is moving in on Mobile Strike’s (as well as Candy Crush’s and Clash of Clans’) iOS and Android turf. The Pokémon Company has already released a puzzle game and its collectible card game for smartphones and tablets, and it is preparing to shake up the market even further with the anticipated augmented reality-powered Pokémon Go. That game has fans using a smartphone’s GPS signal to find digital monsters hidden around the real world.
And fans are primed for Pokémon Go, according to Canvs’s data. Mobile Strike’s ad, which has Schwarzenegger fighting with people in an elevator and around a hotel, generated 606 genuine emotional reactions out of 2,157 total tweets when it aired on Sunday. That is a reaction rate of 28.1 percent. Pokémon, however, had 11,461 total tweets when it aired. And 36.9 percent — or 4,230 — were genuine emotional responses.
And people dug what they saw from Pokémon. Around two-thirds of the emotional engagements fell into Canvs’s “love” category. And one in 10 of the social responses were from someone claiming they “cried.”
Mobile Strike was less appealing, according to Canvs. Only 17 percent said they loved it — although 20 percent did say they found the ad humorous.
Of course, as Canvs points out, Pokémon is drawing on 20 years of nostalgia (its 20th anniversary is later this month), and that might have an unfair advantage over an actor and former governor busting skulls.