Pokémon Go Shouldn’t Be Used To Sell Fast Food To Kids, Say Advocates
Last week, Niantic, the company behind the wildly popular Pokémon Go app, unveiled its first sponsored partnership with McDonald’s in Japan, turning the country’s fast food restaurants into PokéStops where players can purchase items for their characters. While there currently aren’t any sponsored stops stateside, one group is trying to get ahead of the Poké-ball, urging the game maker not to deliver personalized ads to kids based on PokéStops and gyms at retail locations.
The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood launched a petition on Monday, asking Niantic to refrain from nudging preteens to visit sponsored PokéStops and Pokemon Gyms, or provide them with targeted advertisements based on their location while playing the game.
“No child should be lured to McDonald’s or any other sponsor’s establishment while playing Pokemon GO,” Josh Golin, Executive Director of CCFC, said in a statement. “If Niantic wants to cash in on the game’s enormous popularity by herding players to its sponsors’ locations, it should exclude children from this type of marketing.”
For now, Niantic does not have any sponsored gyms or PokéStops in the U.S., but CCFC sees those types of partnerships as imminent.