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Pokémon Publicity Proves Problematic in Places

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Pokémon Publicity Proves Problematic in Places

Jóhanes Viðar Bjarnason

Jóhannes Viðar Bjarnason. The picture was taken before the Pokémon Go craze took hold in Iceland. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

When the Pokémon Go craze overtook Icelanders this summer, Fjörukráin restaurant in Hafnarfjörður, a town near Reykjavík, took advantage of the mobile game’s popularity by advertising itself as Pokémon friendly. The game involves using your cell phone to seek out and catch Pokémon characters in the real world.

On its Facebook page, the restaurant and adjacent Hótel Víking, collectively called Viking Village, posted this message on July 10: “Not only are we a great place for dining, drinking and sleeping; we are also an amazing PokéStop.” The post was accompanied by pictures of nearby PokéStops.

That marketing effort turned out to be problematic, because dining, drinking and sleeping turn out to be activities not easily accomplished at the same time as Pokémon hunting. Owner Jóhannes Viðar Bjarnason found out the hard way.

As you can see from his new picture in the Vísir report, the man looks exhausted. Compare it to our picture, which was taken before the Pokémon craze took hold in Iceland, and you notice the difference.

Attracting Pokémon hunters has affected his business. Inside the restaurant, electrical equipment is being unplugged for charging cell phones needed for the Pokémon hunt. Cars are left running idle in front of the hotel.

“There are windows above and guests who are trying to go to sleep, perhaps scheduled for an early flight the next morning,” Jóhannes lamented. He told Vísir, “This is accompanied by all sorts of filth and dirt. We have a fence, meant to separate the buildings, which has been ruined. It’s going to cost tens of thousands [of krónur] to repair. I have nothing against these people, so to speak, I’m just opposed to having this here. Then I understand everyone wants this, for heaven’s sake; it should be in places where it doesn’t disturb.”

Jóhannes added, “People have asked why I don’t take advantage of this, but this is not the target group we’re looking for. My guess is that about 70 percent of the players are eight to 16-year-old kids, and that’s not the target group supposed to be outside restaurants, let alone inside them, at ten in the evening.”

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