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
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