McDonald’s Japan’s share price is soaring on reports it will be the first Pokémon Go advertiser

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McDonald’s Japan has also started selling Pokémon Happy Meals (although this image was taken in 2014).
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Nelo Hotsuma/Flickr CC

McDonald’s Holdings Company Japan’s share price soared 9.84% at the market close on Wednesday as investors cheered reports that the fast food retailer will be the first advertiser on the wildly popular Pokémon Go mobile game.

The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch reported Tuesday that McDonald’s in Japan will pay up to turn its restaurants into “gyms” in the location-based game.

Gyms allow users to battle and train their pokémon against other players in the game.

TechCrunch reports that McDonald’s will transform more than 3,000 of its restaurants into gyms, which are marked on the in-game map as tall and colorful animated structures.

As Bloomberg reported earlier this month, some lucky bricks and mortar retailers have found themselves luckily appointed as gyms in the game already, without paying for sponsorship, driving significant footfall to their businesses.

On Friday, McDonald’s also began selling Pokémon Go-branded Happy Meals, Bloomberg reported.

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McDonald’s stock was up 9.8% at the market close on Wednesday.
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Google Finance

Pokémon Go has yet to launch in Japan, much to the annoyance of many of the franchise’s fans in the country. The game is expected to officially launch in Japan on Wednesday.

John Hanke, the chief executive of Pokémon Go game developer explained to The Financial Times last week that the “sponsored locations” format will be charged on a “cost per visit” basis.

Pokémon Go is following the same revenue model of one of Niantic’s other big releases, the multiplayer mobile game “Ingress,” which also sold in-game locations. Brands participating have included Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Zipcar, AXA, and Circle K.

An early investor in Niantic, David Jones, who is the CEO of brand tech network You & Mr Jones, told Business Insider earlier this month there is huge potential for advertising on Pokémon Go.

He said: “You can understand how anyone with anything to do with retail and location has that ability to get their brands to tie in. Real world food shops could have virtual berries; real-world pharmacies could have cures; sports stores, gyms, there are so many different things you can do. The potential is enormous.”

Nintendo, an investor in Niantic Labs and the company most-associated with the Pokémon Go franchise saw its share price drop 12.61% in Tokyo on Wednesday, one day after the company’s stock had surged to a five-year high.