As if the surreal events surrounding the stratospheric spread of Pokémon Go could not get any more ludicrous, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is holding a campaign event at a Pokémon Go gym. The area is Madison Park in Lakewood, OH, and it doubles as a Pokéstop as well. “Join us as we go to the Pokéstop in Madison Park and put up a lure module, get free pokémon, and battle each other while you register voters and learn more about Sec. Hillary Clinton!!! Kids welcome!” reads the Clinton campaign website. The event takes place this Saturday, July 16th, from 1PM to 2PM ET.
For residents of Mars, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality mobile game that overlays a virtual world over our real one, letting players travel to locations in their cities and towns, catch the virtual creatures, and battle them against one another. Pokéstops can be at any location really, from cafes and parks to monuments and graffiti walls. Gyms are less common, and are typically at notable land marks. It appears Madison Park has both, and any Clinton supporters and/or avid trainers will likely be aggressively throwing down to take the gym for their respective team.
“Is Clinton on Team Mystic? ”
There are a lot of questions here. Is this just the beginning of the 2016 election’s marketing love affair with the biggest mobile game craze of the decade? Does Hillary play? Is she on Team Mystic? Does she main a Clefable, or perhaps a Vaporeon? Once elected, how does she plan to catch ’em all? Maybe we’ll find out on Saturday.
In an unsurprising twist, the campaign behind presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump appears to have been working on its own Pokémon Go plug. In a video posted to Trump’s official Facebook page, some sorry member of the team’s graphics department out together a 16-second attack ad with the phrase “Crookéd Hillary No” next to a smartphone screen displaying Clinton as a pokémon getting caught. In keeping with the nauseating hat tips to in-game lore, Clinton is a “career politician” type and evolves into “unemployed.”
Of course, while these may be the first political ploys to tap into the massive audience of Pokémon Go, they will not be the last. So props to Clinton staffers for discovering the perfect attendance lure, and props to Trump’s ad using the accented ‘e,’ I guess. Here’s to hoping we swap out the presidential debate system for a Pokémon Go gym battle.