Downtown promotion that encourages consumers and stakeholders to live, work, shop and invest in the Main Street area is one of the core principals of the National Main Street approach. Downtown Sumter's Pokémon GO Lure-A-Thon event illustrates an effective and creative approach to complement more traditional promotional strategies.
Downtown Sumter recognized the opportunity to capitalize on the national Pokémon craze to attract people downtown. In Pokémon GO, a location-based augmented reality game, players use a mobile device's GPS to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures that appear on the screen.
By strategically using the features of the game, including PokéStops, PokéBalls and lures, and complementing these features with attractions spread across the downtown, the event encouraged participants to walk all over the central business district. Offering more than 50 attractions throughout downtown, the event included face painting, door prizes, a photo booth with Pokémon props, cellphone charging station, Italian Ice, bottled water, and food and drink specials.
The event met its goal of using a trendy, family friendly event to attract a diverse mix of non-traditional visitors to downtown. Many of the estimated 2,000 visitors were exposed for the first time to the physical improvements and businesses added in recent years.
To promote the event, Downtown Sumter designed and printed marketing materials, including posters for the businesses and handouts for Pokémon players. Social media was a centerpiece in promotions. Organizers used the event Facebook page as well as the South Carolina Pokémon and Sumter Pokémon pages to spread the word, an effort that resulted in more than 1,000 shares.