Analysis of Pokémon SuMo & XY PR Campaigns (Part 3)

After the first and second parts, I am happy to reveal the third one.

The concluding words in the previous article were “the next articles will show us some interesting patterns, takeouts and why/how Poké SuMo PR Campaign was more extensive.” Taking it from there, here are two documents I have created to understand what I’m mentioning:

  • An infographic comparing the reveals and some important activities happening during the campaign. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put all activities, Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions and Red/Blue/Yellow eShop versions are missing, for instance:


From what I have seen, read, experienced and understood, Poké SuMo’s campaign was much more inclusive and welcoming than the previous Poké-duo. Here are some hints and facts leading me to this thought:

First Announcement

Poké XY:

  • Pikachu opening
  • Focus on the 3D World
  • New Pokemon
  • Glimpse into new setup (Lumios City with the Tour Eiffel)

Poké SuMo:

  • Voiceover says “Celebrating all trainers
  • Pokémon basic mechanics were shown
  • All languages announced (+Chinese added)
  • Social networks & website clearly mentioned
  • 20th Anniversary video was meant for the fans and newcomers: by watching it, even prospects (non-fans, non-gamers) could understand what Pokémon games were about
  • A push of the brand: “Gotta catch ’em all” introduction with Pikachu. Fun (obvious) fact: the first Pokémon you see on PokéGo reveal was… Pikachu

In terms of flow and reveals, there were some major differences  (or not), among them:

Communication days 

  • I couldn’t find patterns, except some communications happened in the middle of the month. This is most likely linked with CoroCoro Comics being released in Japan at that time of the month
  • Rest of communications were usually linked with an industry event: Publishers tend to push their content either the day before or on the opening day.

Game world

  • Poké XY:
    • We can see Lumiose City in the announcement trailer, but we don’t know its name nor setup at that time.
    • Kalos is revealed in May, 4 months after game announcement.
  • Poké SuMo:
    • Alola is revealed shown in May, 3 months after initial game announcement
    • Alola got a full focus in June (and August), meaning 4 months (and 6 months) after the game announcement

Note: According to SELL, Nintendo is the biggest publisher in France, by far.


  • Poké XY: Shown in the first trailer. Full reveal and details 7 months later
  • Poké SuMo: Not shown or hinted at until 4 months after the game announcement. The first reveal was done in the form of an extensive presentation.


  • Poké XY:
    • Shown in the first trailer. Focus with a media alert and screenshots/artworks/infographic 1 week after reveal
    • 2nd form was revealed 2 months prior to Launch
    • 3rd form not revealed
  • Poké SuMo:
    • No reveal on announcement
    • First look in the “Welcome to Alola” trailer in May
    • 2nd form revealed 1.5 months prior to the launch
    • 3rd form revealed 3 weeks prior to Launch

I think TPCi decided to fully reveal those for the following reasons:

  • Fans will be able to pre-build/think their strategies/teams
  • Non-fans will know what they are buying

Japan Expo

  • It’s a French event (vast majority of attendance, at least) but it’s interesting to take a look at how it was handled
  • Poké XY:
    • Kalos = France (more or less)
    • Masuda-san attended and gave public presentations
  • Poké SuMo
    • Not much was done except reveal of Salandit and a new ability
    • Even though I am certain that TPCi had perfectly valid reasons, without knowing those, I think there is a missed opportunity:
      • Trailer of Salandit doesn’t mention PokéGo
      • PokéGo trailer doesn’t mention Poké SuMo

More reveals

Symphonic Evolutions: Pokémon

  • Tour started on 15th August 2014
  • Unfortunately; I couldn’t find data on attendance or anything related to that to create ratios to measure the potential effect of Poké SuMo or PokéGo
  • Poké XY: 0 (because it started after, makes sense.)
  • Poké SuMo: 10 dates (Incl. the cancelled ones in Paris, *sadface*)

Those are the points I decided to highlight to showcase the major differences and the inclusiveness of Poké SuMo’s campaign. Another thing that we need to keep in mind, as you can see in the Excel file and the infographic above, Poké SuMo had much more content/features in-game.

Before closing in the 3rd part, let’s take a quick glance at Yokai Watch:

  • Campaign lasted for 9 months in Americas & 14 months in EU. Pokémon: 10 & 11 months
  • Communication ratios
    • US: 0.55/month
    • EU: 0.64/month (incl. the TV series announcements)
    • Looks pretty light compared to Pokémon 2.18 & 2.20
  • 2 Videos only vs 18 & 25 for Pokémon
  • Worth noting that all communications on Yokai Watch had:
    • Mentions of Japanese success
    • The brand ecosystem (merchandising, Anime, toys)
    • Bonus fact: Bandai Namco makes heaps of money out of YW merchandising in Japan (See latest IR reports)

I think it is pretty obvious that Pokémon’s communication is much stronger, denser and attractive. Not only in terms of outputs, but also in terms of outcomes. To illustrate so, I have asked Thomas from ICO Partners to provide me with some stats starting May 2015. Those are the number of articles published on each brand (without PokéGo):


That’s it for the 3rd part. The 4th part will be focusing on the last 2 months of the campaign, and also tackle the Pokémon Go phenomena. 

What can we keep in mind following this article?

  • Game content is key to crafting proper messages
  • When promoting a game, it’s always good to visit key territories in terms of sales, but also if they are mentioned in/inspire your game, no matter the size. This creates a special bond with fans and it is a good opportunity for press to speak about game design/inspirations
  • When you have nothing to say, you don’t communicate: easy as that. This sounds like a post sponsored by Captain Obvious, but it’s mandatory to keep in mind and actually apply it. For instance, there is this old-school misconception about press releases: you don’t need to create a press release for everything. Sometimes, it’s better to skip this part and communicate through other channels/means.
  • I have mentioned Symphonic Evolutions for a good reason:
    • I firmly believe that exploring the music/OST/sound part of games is a good way to showcase the universe of that given game/brand, and to recruit new fans
    • Doing concerts serve this purpose, but it’s also a good way to thank fans for their support
    • While working on DARK SOULS III, I wanted to explore this route and ended up working with Smooth McGroove twice
    • Another way to showcase this is what Japan Studios did with Bloodborne  Behind the scenes give a good insight to the public and give a more human face to the company.

3 thoughts on “Analysis of Pokémon SuMo & XY PR Campaigns (Part 3)

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