Richard Curtis, writer of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually,” is promoting a campaign to tackle world poverty by creating a series of Pokémon Go “Pokéstops” at Davos.
Pokéstops are real world locations that users interact with by downloading “Pokémon Go” on smartphones, a game which has been downloaded over 500 million times since its release last year.
Seventeen pokéstops have been placed around Davos, which is currently hosting its annual meeting of the world’s political and business elites.
Each stop will correspond to one of 17 “Global Goals” set out by Project Everyone, a UN-backed agency founded by Curtis which uses high-profile campaigns to raise awareness of issues including extreme poverty and climate change.
Stops are labelled after each of the goals, which include “Zero Hunger” and “Good Health.”
Olympic medal-winning sprinter Michael Johnson and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver have been spotted playing the game and Curtis hopes more of Davos’ movers and shakers will become involved.He told BI he was inspired to after playing Pokémon Go with his children in London.
“It’s been very interesting, because people attending Davos are quite adept on their mobile phones, and they have all heard about this game from their kids,” Curtis said.
“I’m hoping a surprising number might think it is quite an amusing thing to do. I’ve noticed the Davos audience are quite willing to laugh at even quite weak jokes, because they’re looking for entertainment!”
Matthieu de Fayet, the vice president of Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs, said the game had been designed for attendees to play while they’re on the move around the Davos site.
“Whether they go to the Davos Congress, which has been turned into a “Pokémon Gym”, or whether they go to the train station, each of these big locations and social gatherings corresponds to one of the stops,” he said.
From spring this year, content promoting the project’s “Global Goals” will be rolled out to all Pokémon Go users, which Curtis said would help bring its cause to a wider and younger audience.
“The sustainable development goals are something that the next generation will fight for, and something we’re trying to make as popular as we can with young people — as well as making them important and meaningful to business and politicians,” he said.
It’s like advertising a movie. When a movie comes out, you glimpse a poster. Then you see an article, then a trailer — that’s what we want to do with this campaign — director Richard Curtis
“It’s like advertising a movie. When a movie comes out, the first time you see it, you just glimpse it out the corner of your eye on a poster. Then you see an article, then you see a trailer — that’s what we want to do with this campaign.
De Fayet said: “4.5 billion people around the world have phones, and half of them are smartphones. It’s never happened in the history of humanity to have such a huge platform as the mobile platform where you can reach that many billion people.
“Based on the number of Pokémon Go downloads, 10% of the planet are familiar with the game, and will be engaged around not only the game but also with these important goals,” he said.
Curtis said that the playful campaign underlines a serious drive to promote issues where progress is being made.
“I’m really interested in the issues where there is progress,” he said. “Complex things which happen day to day can make us think the world is full of things going backwards: there are huge issues to do with war, refugees, and so on.”
“In the meantime — slowly but surely — the number of kids who die of malaria is going down, the issue of gender equality rises up the agenda, the number of children in school globally has risen dramatically, and extreme poverty has been halved in two decades.”