The Pokemon Company and Nintendo launched its own Super Bowl commercial to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary. While we didn’t know it at the time, that Super Bowl commercial marked the start of what was arguably Pokemon’s biggest year since 1996.
The commercial started with a young boy inspired to “train for greatness” after watching a Pokemon battle in the middle of a busy street. The boy’s actions started a chain reaction of inspiring several other young men and women – leading to a young man walking into a packed stadium to participate in a highly televised Pokemon battle.
Fans loved the commercial’s many subtle Pokemon references, ranging from a Nidoking chess piece to a brief news alert about a roadblock on Route 12 (a reference to Snorlax’s first appearance in Pokemon Red and Blue) to a football team sporting helmets with the Volcano Badge logo.
The crazy thing is that the Super Bowl commercial didn’t even advertise a specific product. It was all about telling players to “Train On,” even though the Pokemon franchise was launching its year long Mythical celebration and started a new product line to celebrate the franchise’s 20th anniversary.