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While most Pokemon Go players are trying to slyly check for Pokémon at the office without attracting attention from the boss, some are capitalizing on the trend for marketing purposes.
Jackson Scher, a part-time pedicab driver with National Pedicabs, launched Pedi-Poke-Go Tours yesterday after realizing that people may be willing to pay to catch Pokémon without walking long distances.
“When I found out that the game has gyms and shops at major locations in town, and that the National Mall is swimming in Pokémon, I put two and two together,” Scher says in an email. “The response has been really great—people are sharing the link, commenting on the opportunity, and generally getting excited!”
For $75 an hour, Scher’s tours offer the opportunity for passengers to direct the driver toward Pokémon that pop up on their map and hop out when they find one that needs catching.
“It’s definitely a lazy option, and it isn’t terribly cheap, but I only need a couple of bites for it to be worth it, especially because the startup costs were exactly zero,” Scher says. “If folks can see more of their city, make some progress on their Pokédex, and I can make a buck, everybody wins. Except team Mystic.”
While Scher is using Pokemon Go to drive sales, another company is taking advantage of the Poké-mania to promote themselves. Grand Atlas Tours generally offers custom guided tours of the monuments surrounding the Mall, but this Sunday they will be hosting the free “Gotta Catch The Mall” tour, an event for Pokemon Go players to tour the monuments and catch Pokémon along the way.
Flannery Wasson, brand designer for the tour company, says that the company is using Pokemon Go as a way to get people in the city out and exposed to the history of the monuments and memorials.
“Lots of people that live in the city don’t necessarily go out and see the stuff around them,” Wasson says. She characterized the popularity of the game as “a really good chance to get people to understand the memorials.”
Neither Scher or Wasson are expecting their Pokémon-related offerings to dramatically improve business. Scher says only a couple people have contacted him to reserve times as of Monday, and Wasson says that Grand Atlas’ event is more about teaching “some cool history.”