When Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel turned down a $4 billion offer from Google in 2013, I remember thinking he was mad as a box of frogs. As I’m writing these words some three years later, Snapchat is valued at around $20 billion and I wouldn’t be surprised if by the time you’re reading this, it has doubled in value again. I have tried to understand what the Snapchat fuss is all about. How it works, why it’s so popular and how you get that rainbow tongue thing to appear in your videos. I failed on all accounts. What I did learn is that I’m losing touch with the Millennial generation. There’s no more denying it. How someone named Pewdiepie can make 7 million dollars a year by yelling at a computer screen is beyond me. Nor do I understand what the attraction is in watching a total stranger bake pancakes live on Periscope. And now driving the dagger home, is Pokemon Go.
Pokemon Go – and I had to look this up – is an augmented reality game in which you have to use your phone to find Japanese cartoon creatures hiding in the real world. Since its launch last week, it has been installed on Android phones 7,5 million times in the US alone. That’s more than Tinder has managed to amass in five years and it’s well on its way to overtake Twitter. Apart from sending the world into a gaming frenzy, it has catapulted Nintendo’s stock through the roof, boosting its market value by a whopping $8 billion and raking in $ 1.65 million of revenue a day. Incidentally, it has also led to the discovery of dead bodies and been used to lure people into ambushes.
I believe it was David Ogilvy who warned advertising professionals that the only thing we have in common with our target audience is that we are both carbon-based organisms. When I look at the explosive rise of Pokemon Go I couldn’t agree with him more. Advertising is a young man’s game and there are few things sadder than middle-aged marketeers trying to prove they’ve still got street cred with the youngsters. So to all grown men and women running around town with their phones looking for Pikachu – don’t. Sometimes it’s perfectly fine to admit you’re getting too old for this shit.
* Written for Amsterdam Adblog