The Pokemon Company Didn’t Mean to Become a Wellness Brand

pPokemon might be looking to improve the health of its fans through Pokemon Sleep and Pokemon Go, but that wasn’t their initial goal with either app. Earlier this week, had the chance to speak with Takato Utsunomiya, the COO of The Pokemon Company, in a wide-ranging interview about the wider Pokemon brand. During the interview, Utsunomiya was asked about Pokemon’s expansion into becoming a “wellness” brand after the release of Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sleep. Utsunomiya noted that it wasn’t the intent for Pokemon to enter the healthcare category, but rather an offshoot of how the franchise attempted to find new ways for fans to interact with Pokemon.

“Just to clarify a little bit on the positioning of the products, we didn’t really begin Pokemon Go or Pokemon Sleep with the idea that we wanted to get into the wellness or healthcare category,” Utsunomiya said via a translator. “It was really more of a focus…an interesting idea where people maybe walk with their Pokemon a lot. Or for example, having this game where through your sleep you’re able to interact with Pokemon. That’s another way that maybe they sleep more. But the main idea there is that it’s more integrating Pokemon into people’s daily lives. And by doing that we’re able to increase their love for Pokemon, or also get more people interested in Pokemon and increase the fan base in general.”

Utsunomiya also noted that the expansion of Pokemon into different segments is an offshoot of fans of the franchise being present in many different industries. “With Pokemon…it first started like 27 years ago, people who maybe first played those games at 10 years old, they’re now 37 years old. You have a lot of people that are in these different industries anddifferent companies who grew up with Pokemon. They still love Pokemon. So there’s a lot of opportunities to work with a great variety of different places. And as an entertainment brand, we need to surprise people and bring experiences and things they don’t expect. So I think there’s a lot of potential in finding these kind of collaborations, to bring these unexpected experiences to people.”

Pokemon has expanded the number of collaborations with different companies in recent years, especially with various brands around the 25th anniversary. Additionally, the collaborations with Tencent and Niantic have turned into two of the main pillars of the Pokemon competitive scene along with the Pokemon trading card games and the core Pokemon series.