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Pokemon Banking for Fun (and Profit?)

sberbankgo facebook page

The Pokemon Go craze doesn’t surprise me at all. Both my boys grew up with the little beasts so I get their appeal, especially with the AR boost. But what I didn’t expect to see were multiple financial institutions jumping on board, during the first week no less. And one, SberBank, that would pull off a clever product tie-in that might actually have a positive ROIsberbank go site.

Coinciding with the official countrywide Pokemon Go release (expected any day now), the Russian bank and insurer (and Finovate alum) is offering free accident insurance for anyone while they are playing the game. Users must register with the bank first (nice monetization through lead-gen) and provide evidence in the case of a claim (and some big costs).

The bank plans to use special game pieces called Lures, to drive players to branch locations. They are also providing additional bonuses for anyone catching a Pokemon in the branch.

SberBank created a special website just for the promotion at SberBankgo.com which explains the offer in both Russian and English (screenshot right). In addition, they’ve added a Facebook page to support the promotion (screenshot above).

pokemon go cu brandedWhile the free insurance promo is probably too costly to work in litigious U.S. markets, banks can still use the game to drive traffic. For example, Florida’s CenterState Bank has already experimented with lures at its branches (see full writeup on its promotion). Or if you just want to have a little fun on social media, drive your branded truck into the background while capturing one of the little critters. Kudos to CACL FCU in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, for acting on that first.

Bottom line: Jumping on the Pokemon Go bandwagon isn’t going to replace anything in your 2016 marketing plan; however, it could be a  low-cost way to:

  • Provide interesting content for your social media outlets
  • Gain some free PR (limited to first bank/CU that does it in a given market)
  • Provide leads for certain products (youth bank accounts, insurance, mobile banking)