Analysis of Pokémon SuMo & XY PR Campaigns (Part 1)

My first article about Pokémon was based on my emotions, my love for the IP and some anecdotes. The upcoming posts will be an analysis of the PR Campaigns, to see what were the major differences between SuMo and XY communications.

Important, please read:

  • I don’t pretend to know-it-all
  • I focused on the media relations part only, not influencers/bloggers/brand content /media buying/social networks etc. Side note, if you are interested in PR, I’d suggest reading this: Read more about PESO Model here. It’s a good start for the “integrated PR” concept.
  • I don’t have access to Nintendo/The Pokémon Company “insider” information, meaning that most of my analysis is based on
    • What can be found on the Internet
    • Some PR Tools that I use
    • My thoughts
  • I used Nintendo UK/Pokémon UK as a basis
  • I use this kind of analysis for my own products (but with much more details, data about coverage etc), to understand what we did right/wrong, quality of our messaging etc.. Post-mortems are key if you want to grow and get better.

According to the February 1st, 2017 Corporate Management Policy Briefing by Nintendo (Available in PDF, here):

“We released two completely new entries in the Pokémon series, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, worldwide in November last year, and achieved explosive sales. According to our recent analysis, the global sell-through (volume sold from retailers to consumers) has exceeded 13 million units and continues to grow”


“THAT’S MASSIVE!” said Kimishima-san,  President of Nintendo (well, he didn’t say it in those words, but you got the point)

If you want even more evidence of how smashing the sales are:

(All credits go to Oscar Lemaire)

To put things in perspective (all numbers; except YW, are Worldwide):

  • Fire Emblem Awakening has sold 1.9m units since its release in 2012/2013 (Japan/EU & US)
  • Mario Kart 7 on 3DS sold 14.8m since 2011  (Remember that the game benefited from several bundles, incl. the very affordable 2DS bunduru)
  • Street Fighter V (PC/PS4): sold 1.6m  since Feb 2016.
  • Yokai Watch (According to Oscar Lemaire, the game tanked in the US, so it won’t add millions):


In terms of sales, Pokémon SuMo is a monster and a behemoth in the making. There’s no doubt that the game will be the best-selling Pokéduo over the long term. There are a lot of reasons to explain this success (will give more details in later parts of the series)

  • Game design/concept appealing to long-term fans: the changes have been implemented properly and a LOT of Quality of Life changes have been added.
  • Game concept was easy to understand to newcomers  (Remember the long tutorial?)
  • 20th Anniversary activities
  • Pokémon ecosystem stronger than ever
  • Pokémon Go
  • Strong PR Campaign appealing to both mainstream and fans audiences

Before moving to the next part of the article, let’s take a look at an interesting fact from the Corporate Management Policy Briefing:

According to our latest data, we have seen that the ratio of players in their 20s and 30s has risen for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon compared to past Pokémon titles for Nintendo 3DS. In addition, as of the end of December 2016, we found that about 17% of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon players had no previous Nintendo 3DS Pokémon titles in their activity log; in other words, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon were the first Pokémon titles these players had experienced on Nintendo 3DS

Translation:  Pokémon is still a very attractive brand.

That’s it for the first part. The next ones will be focusing on PR data, outputs, messaging and flow. 

Want more?

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