Media Watch - Kids, adults and media go crazy over Pokemon fad

Kids across the country are losing their heads over Pokemon. The fad first appeared several years ago as a Nintendo game and has since expanded into a wildly popular series of trading cards and a newly released hit movie. The film had the biggest five-day opening by an animated feature film ever and was comparable to numbers put up by blockbusters such as The Phantom Menace.

Kids across the country are losing their heads over Pokemon. The fad first appeared several years ago as a Nintendo game and has since expanded into a wildly popular series of trading cards and a newly released hit movie. The film had the biggest five-day opening by an animated feature film ever and was comparable to numbers put up by blockbusters such as The Phantom Menace.

Kids across the country are losing their heads over Pokemon. The

fad first appeared several years ago as a Nintendo game and has since

expanded into a wildly popular series of trading cards and a newly

released hit movie. The film had the biggest five-day opening by an

animated feature film ever and was comparable to numbers put up by

blockbusters such as The Phantom Menace.



Pokemon, which is the blend of the words ’pocket monster,’ has also

infatuated the media, which have covered the craze from numerous angles.

CARMA’s examination of the coverage reveals that while numerous

conglomerates are benefiting from the new marketing rage, few reports

recognized the uniqueness of the Pokemon appeal.



The rapid growth of the Pokemon empire, which marches by the

sales-fueling slogan ’Gotta catch ’em all,’ has astonished almost

everyone. ’Pokemon couldn’t be hotter than it is right now,’ said Paul

Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, which tracks box office

sales (AP, November 14).



Much of the media coverage focused on the corporations that have

profited from the new craze. Nintendo, whose game is the basis of the

new film, saw its shares surge but downplayed any mercenary profiteering

by insisting the royalties are not significant. Instead, ’(Nintendo) is

hoping the rising popularity of Pokemon will lead to more sales of Game

Boy software,’ explained Nanako Sakaguchi, analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort

Benson (Financial Times, November 16).



With Christmas around the corner, the new obsession has been a marketing

boom for Burger King, which has received considerable coverage in recent

weeks with its Pokemon promotional tie-in. The fast-food company has

experienced many difficulties trying to satisfy the insatiable demand -

a supply problem of a positive kind. Explaining why some children are

walking out in tears leaving parents irate, company spokeswoman Kim

Miller explained, ’Restaurants are selling 1,000 meals a day, that’s

three times our normal Kids Meal volume during a successful promotion’

(Los Angeles Times, November 16).



Arguably, the media frequently noted that Warner Bros. stands to gain

the most from the phenomenon. Some reports pointed out that the company

acquired the film for just dollars 5 million, which it made in its first

night.



Recognizing that Warner Bros. caught the movie at the right time, Tom

Borys of AC Nielsen EDI noted, ’Timing is everything when you’re dealing

with a kids’ franchise’ (USA Today, November 15).



Almost inevitably, it seems such a craze encourages violent and

frightening behavior and the media have been quick to delve into pop

psychology, turning isolated incidents into headline stories across the

country. Numerous claims of kids being turned into gamblers have been

widely reported as well.



And just as the momentum behind Pokemon has begun, some reports have

already begun to predict the fad’s demise. Although some critics viewed

the products as manipulative and shallow, many observers felt that the

marketing juggernaut may be stronger than others due to its complex

marketing and mythology that surrounds the games, cards and toys.



Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Media Watch can be found

at www.carma.com



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