The Pokémon Go phenomenon has swept the country and the nation’s capital is no exception.
Thousands of people, especially young people, can be seen every day with a cell phone in hand walking the Washington, D.C., area looking for those Pokémon digital creatures in real-world locations.
Now we're asking for those Pokémon Go players to help bring awareness to the missing children in our region.
Working in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an organization that helps search for missing children, WUSA9 has re-purposed the graphics used in the popular augmented reality game, and created large posters that feature the face and name of local missing children. The posters will be featured at various locations because the game encourages players to rove different areas to find “poké balls”.
The campaign kicks off on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at a number of high profile locations across the metropolitan area in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. It's an interesting way to capitalize on the craze while raising awareness for a very good cause. What's more, Pokémon Go's wandering players seem like particularly good candidates.
“My own kids play the game so I’ve been caught up in the craze too," WUSA9 marketing producer Carrie Zolan said. "Our goal here is that players of all ages join us in keeping an eye out for missing children.”
WUSA9 has long championed the cause of finding missing children and launched a high profile television and digital campaign called #BringThemHome several years ago.
“It might be optimistic to think that Pokémon Go players are going to stop playing the game to focus on missing kids, but getting closer to finding even one missing child would make the effort worth it," according to Director of Marketing Sandra Gehring.
“For several years now we have championed missing children and this is the most contemporary extension to that effort," Gehring added.