PokémonGoTR: Coming to an airport near you – Catch ’em all!

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Judging by my e-mail in-box, my last Blog on the potential use (or misuse) of PokémonGo must have struck a note (crotchet, quaver, semi-quaver – you know what I mean) with many readers.

The Blog related how TFWA is preparing to take over the world. No, not Tax Free World Association. But Tangela, Flareon, Wigglytuff and Articuno.

If you’re asking ‘Who?’ then you have been hiding under your duvet for the past few months. They are of course four of the 151 PokémonGo characters that appear to have turned 50% (and rising) of the world’s population into device-staring and wielding zombies.

In case you still don’t know what I am on about (and I’m not sure I am either), PokémonGo is a free, location-based augmented reality mobile game for iOS and Android devices released earlier this month in the US and selected other markets. It is already the most popular game in the history of smartphones, drawing around 21 million daily active users in the USA on a single day recently – almost a third of the number of votes that Donald Trump will need to become US President later this year (I’m not sure which reference worries me most). That’s also five times the population of my native New Zealand (although still somewhat short of our 60 million sheep – I know the number as my chronic insomnia forces me to count them every night).

OTG Doduo at Saison, EWR
When two heads are better than one, Doduo is your Pokémon – William Wordsworth

clive

Veteran travel retail executive Clive Carpenter (above) now leading Cognac Prunier’s impressive resurgence in duty free with a pioneering range of age statement Cognacs, wrote to me and said, “I think you’re quite right, this Pokemon thing has great potential for the industry. Just imagine hunting for these…

Parkémon – for those who drive themselves to the airport

Packémon – lurking in the deepest recesses of suitcases (does it show up on the security scan..? suspense!)

Pickémon & Mixémon – found in the confectionery concession

Pinkémon – Found in luxury shirt boutiques (one of Mr Arnault’s favourites)

There were more. But this is a family Blog…

Clive has suggested we start a Moodie Blog competition for the best new characters so, on the Doduo principle (two heads are better than one), he and I have agreed that together we must address these burning industry concerns. Watch this space.

In the meantime, on the principle that if you can’t beat ‘em, join’ em, The Moodie Blog today proudly unveils part 1 of the definitive guide to the travel retail exclusive line extension of PokémonGo, called PokémonGoTR. In the weeks leading up to the Tangela, Flareon, Wigglytuff, Articuno (TFWA) Exhibition in Cannes, I’ll be introducing you to all members of the planet’s newest and most popular species – and even tell you where to find them – before Clive and I unveil their new channel-specific cousins.

As I said, PokémonGo features 151 Pokémon (I remain very upset that the plural is not Pokémen but in an age where young people have to rely on grammar check on their computers, what can one expect?)

Here are some of the PokémonGoTR characters – and from whence in travel retail they draw their inspiration.

Dugtrio: A reference clearly to my friendly rival Doug Newhouse, Diageo’s soon (and sadly) to be departed Doug Bagley, and veteran airport retail executive Doug Benham. Gotta catch ‘em all!

Gastly: Clearly invented by an Englishman who dropped his ‘H’s and possibly a reference to how one describes being stuck with a pax-linked MAG in an airport where traffic is rising but passenger spending falling. He might be spotted in quite a few airports then…

Rattata: You’ll find this adorable little character in several leading airport restaurants – no, not because they have rodent problems but because it is clearly an abbreviation for Ratatouille. As in Ratatouille or Pokémon to go.

Nidoqueen: There’s only one queen of Nido in travel retail and that’s Dubai Duty Free Vice President Purchasing Saba Tahir, whose company sold an extraordinary 243 tonnes of Nido milk powder in the first three months of 2016. You’ll spot Nidoqueen near the confectionery zone.

Koffing: Clearly a reference to the 2002 SARS outbreak that devastated travel retail and prompted travellers and staff to wear face masks to avoid being infected by their fellow passengers’ coughing and spluttering. They say you could roll a bowling ball down the concourse at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) back then and not be in danger of hitting anyone, so bad was the passenger decline. But pop back there now with your iPhone, and you just might catch a Koffing, most likely at the temperature control desk in Arrivals.

Weezing: Ok, make that two characters at HKIA…

Dragonair: Well this one’s a bit easy isn’t it? Well, it would have been but how are you gonna catch him when you have to turn your phone off in-flight?

Muk: An allusion to the old proverb, “Where there’s muck there’s brass”, meaning where there’s a dirty job there’s money to be made – and there lies the clue. When someone’s dirty, what do they need? Muk-up of course – foundation, toner, blush, that kind of thing. You’ll spot Muk at good airport beauty counters everywhere.

Drowzee: This one’s easy – you’ll spot millions of these faces around the arrival halls of the world’s airports. Just be careful which one you catch.

Mr. Mime: This is a clear reference to famous French mime Marcel Marceau (did you know that he was arrested once and assured that he had the right to talk?), tragically beaten to death in 2007 by a man seen wielding a silencer. Look for this Pokémon in an Aelia duty free near you.

Gloom: A close cousin of Doom and proliferating way too fast in travel retail for my liking. Time for a new character called Optimism.

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