Gotta catch ‘em all: four times when businesses mobilised the masses

A video was recently uploaded to YouTube showing a crowd of Pokémon Go players seemingly running riot in an otherwise orderly Taiwan street. The reason? Apparently an unusually hard to find Snorlax was up for grabs…

While mass civil unrest is certainly not high on any marketer’s list of KPIs, scenes like the one described are often a sign that the company in question is doing something right. Here’s a quick roundup of when shoppers have felt the overwhelming need to catch ‘em all…

1. Elderly shoppers swamp Tesco store in Shanghai

At the close of 2014 a YouTuber uploaded a video he said had been filmed over three months showing large groups of mainly elderly people scramble to get the pick of the company’s products every morning.

2. Chinese customers stall Apple Pay launch

Users flocking to sign up for contactless transactions via Apple Pay have been so numerous that the service's servers have not been able to handle it – instead of being able to add cards for contactless payments customers have been served with error messages.

3. Alibaba’s ‘singles day’ sales record

Held on November 11th each year since 1993, singles day was originally a popular youth festival in celebration of being single. Keen to capitalise on a day promoting self-indulgence, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba trademarked ‘double 11” in 2012 and set about transforming the festival into am platform to push sales.

And it worked. 2015 saw the company clock a record-beating $14.3 billion dollars in a single day!

4. Life of Pablo pop-ups

Alongside his multi-platinum music career and squabbling with Taylor Swift, Kanye West has also launched an extremely popular clothing line – yeezy. Eager to be the first to get their hands on the new clobber, fans around the word camped outside stores in order to be the first. There are almost 40 stores spread across Asia-Pacific that sell the yeezy brand. 

Read the August issue of Business Review Australia & Asia.

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