Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 227–239 | Cite as

Gotta catch ‘em all: invigorating Pokémon through an innovative brand extension

  • Luke ButcherEmail author
  • Billy Sung
  • Kate Raynes-Goldie
Original Article


Despite the success of similar and far more immersive games from lesser known brands, Pokémon Go burst into pop-culture by merging augmented reality technology with the much-adored Pokemon world. The strategy of (re)capturing new and old fans through a highly innovative brand extension has been successful, illustrated by the total distance walked in real life by its players through the game being further than the distance from Earth to Pluto. With the release of further AR gaming extensions from colossal brands already underway (see Star WarsFind The Force), how can we explain the success of Pokemon Go as an innovative gaming brand extension? Collecting data from a sample of extensive players of Pokemon Go, results yield intriguing findings into the favourable and unfavourable evaluations of the innovative extension, offering substantial insights to those seeking to expand or rejuvenate brand portfolios through innovative brand extensions.


Innovation Brand extension Augmented reality Authenticity Nostalgia 


  1. Aaker, D.A., and K.L. Keller. 1990. Consumer evaluations of brand extensions. Journal of Marketing 54(1): 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alba, J.W., and W.J. Hutchinson. 1987. Dimensions of consumer expertise. Journal of consumer research 13(4): 411–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beverland, M.B. 2006. The ‘real thing’: Branding authenticity in the luxury wine trade. Journal of Business Research 59(2): 251–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beverland, M.B., F. Farrelly, and P. Quester. 2006. Brand-personal values fit and brand meanings: Exploring the role individual values play in ongoing brand loyalty in extreme sports subcultures. Advances in Consumer Research 33(1): 21–27.Google Scholar
  5. Beverland, M.B., J. Napoli, and F. Farrelly. 2010. Can all brands innovate in the same way? A typology of brand position and innovation effort. Journal of Product Innovation Management 27(1): 33–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhat, S., and S.K. Reddy. 2001. The impact of parent brand attribute associations and affect on brand extension evaluation. Journal of Business Research 53(3): 111–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boush, D.M., and B. Loken. 1991. A process-tracing study of brand extension evaluation. Journal of Marketing Research 28(1): 16–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brown, S., R.V. Kozinets, and J.F. Sherry Jr. 2003. Teaching old brands new tricks: Retro branding and the revival of brand meaning. Journal of Marketing 67(3): 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buil, I., L. de Chernatony, and L.E. Hem. 2009. Brand extension strategies: Perceived fit, brand type, and culture influences. European Journal of Marketing 43(11/12): 1300–1324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burn, A. 2006. Reworking the text: Online fandom. In Computer games: Text, narrative and play, ed. D. Carr, D. Buckingham, A. Burn, and G. Schott, 88–102. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  11. Butcher, L., Y. Tang, and I. Phau. 2016. Pawning n00bs: Insights into perceptions of brand extensions of the video game industry. Australasian Marketing Journal 25(3): 215–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, K.J., and C.M. Liu. 2004. Positive brand extension trial and choice of parent brand. Journal of Product and Brand Management 13(1): 25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Choi, H., E. Ko, E.Y. Kim, and P. Mattila. 2015. The role of fashion brand authenticity in product management: A holistic marketing approach. Journal of Product Innovation Management 32(2): 233–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Claudiu-Cătălin, M., and F. Dorian-Laurenţiu. 2014. Radical Brand extensions and consumer profile—A new perspective on innovation and consumer Innovativeness. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 109: 108–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dall’Olmo Riley, F., C. Hand, and F. Guido. 2014. Evaluating brand extensions, fit perceptions and post-extension brand image: Does size matter? Journal of Marketing Management 30(9–10): 904–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dionísio, P., C. Leal, and L. Moutinho. 2008. A phenomenological research study on sports fandom in Portugal: A comparative study of surfing and football. Journal of Euromarketing 17(3/4): 233–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dwivedi, A., and B. Merrilees. 2013. Retail brand extensions: Unpacking the link between brand extension attitude and change in parent brand equity. Australasian Marketing Journal 21(2): 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Eggers, F., M. O’Dwyer, S. Kraus, C. Vallaster, and S. Güldenberg. 2013. The impact of brand authenticity on brand trust and SME growth: A CEO perspective. Journal of World Business 48(3): 340–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Escalas, J.E., and J.R. Bettman. 2003. You are what they eat: The influence of reference groups on consumers’ connections to brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology 13(3): 339–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Filiciak, M. 2003. Hyperidentities: Postmodern identity patterns in massively multiplayer online role-playing games. The Video Game Theory Reader 1: 87–102.Google Scholar
  21. Fritz, K., V. Schoenmueller, and M. Bruhn. 2017. Authenticity in branding—Exploring antecedents and consequences of brand authenticity. European Journal of Marketing 51(2): 324–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gosling, V.K., and G. Crawford. 2011. Game scenes: Theorizing digital game audiences. Games and Culture 6(2): 135–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grayson, K., and R. Martinec. 2004. Consumer perceptions of iconicity and indexicality and their influence on assessments of authentic market offerings. Journal of Consumer Research 31(2): 296–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grønhaug, K., L. Hem, and R. Lines. 2002. Exploring the impact of product category risk and consumer knowledge in brand extensions. Journal of Brand Management 9(6): 463–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Heinze, J., M. Thomann, and P. Fischer. 2017. Ladders to m-commerce resistance: A qualitative means-end approach. Computers in Human Behavior 73: 362–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hoeffler, S., and K.L. Keller. 2003. The marketing advantages of strong brands. Journal of Brand Management 10(6): 421–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Holbrook, M.B., and R.M. Schindler. 2003. Nostalgic bonding: exploring the role of nostalgia in the consumption experience. Journal of Consumer Behaviour 3(2): 107–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Keller, K.L. 1993. Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing 57(1): 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keller, K.L. 2007. Strategic brand management: Building, measuring and managing brand equity, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  30. Klink, R.R., and D.C. Smith. 2001. Threats to the external validity of brand extension research. Journal of Marketing Research 38(3): 326–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Marchegiani, C., and I. Phau. 2013. Development and validation of the Personal Nostalgia Scale. Journal of Marketing Communications 19(1): 22–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Martınez, E., and L. de Chernatony. 2004. The effect of brand extension strategies upon brand image. Journal of Consumer Marketing 21(1): 39–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McCracken, G. 1989. Who is the celebrity endorser? Cultural foundations of the endorsement process. Journal of Consumer Research 16(1): 310–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Michel, G., and N. Donthu. 2014. Why negative brand extension evaluations do not always negatively affect the brand: The role of central and peripheral brand associations. Journal of Business Research 67(12): 2611–2619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Munteanu, C.-C. 2015. Competitive differentiation through brand extensions in the era of hyper competition. Romanian Economic Journal 18(55): 57–70.Google Scholar
  36. Napoli, J., S. Dickinson-Delaporte, and M.B. Beverland. 2014. Measuring consumer-based brand authenticity. Journal of Business Research 67(6): 1090–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nedergaard, N., and R. Gyrd-Jones. 2013. Sustainable brand-based innovation: The role of corporate brands in driving sustainable innovation. Journal of Brand Management 20(9): 762–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Padgett, D., and M.S. Mulvey. 2007. Differentiation via technology: Strategic positioning of services following the introduction of disruptive technology. Journal of Retailing 83(4): 375–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Redden, J., and C.J. Steiner. 2000. Fanatical consumers: towards a framework for research. Journal of Consumer Marketing 17(4): 322–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Reynolds, T.J., and J.C. Olson (eds.). 2001. Understanding consumer decision making: The means-end approach to marketing and advertising strategy. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  41. Shields, A.B., and J.W. Johnson. 2016. What did you do to my brand? The moderating effect of brand nostalgia on consumer responses to changes in a brand. Psychology & Marketing 33(9): 713–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Smith, R.E., and W.R. Swinyard. 1983. Attitude-behavior consistency: The impact of product trial versus advertising. Journal of Marketing Research 20(3): 257–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith, S., D. Fisher, and S.J. Cole. 2007. The lived meanings of fanaticism: Understanding the complex role of labels and categories in defining the self in consumer culture. Consumption Markets & Culture 10(2): 77–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sood, S., and X. Drèze. 2006. Brand extensions of experiential goods: Movie sequel evaluations. The Journal of Consumer Research 33(3): 352–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Spiggle, S., H.T. Nguyen, and M. Caravella. 2012. More than fit: Brand extension authenticity. Journal of Marketing Research 49(6): 967–983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thorne, S., and G.C. Bruner. 2006. An exploratory investigation of the characteristics of consumer fanaticism. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal 9(1): 51–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Truong, Y., R.R. Klink, G. Simmons, A. Grinstein, and M. Palmer. 2017. Branding strategies for high-technology products: The effects of consumer and product innovativeness. Journal of Business Research 70: 85–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Venturebeat. 2017. Pokémon Go passes $1.2 billion in revenue and 752 million downloads. Games, 30 June. Accessed 15 June 2017.
  49. Völckner, F., and H. Sattler. 2006. Drivers of brand extension success. Journal of Marketing 70(2): 18–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wood, S.L., and C.P. Moreau. 2006. From fear to loathing? How emotion influences the evaluation and early use of innovations. Journal of Marketing 70(3): 44–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yalcinkaya, G., and T. Aktekin. 2015. Brand extension effects and core attributes of experience product franchises: A Bayesian approach. Journal of Product Innovation Management 32(5): 731–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curtin UniversityBentleyAustralia
  2. 2.Playup PerthPerthAustralia

Personalised recommendations