Trying suspending disbelief at least once this weekend and imagine the confusion that Dorothy and Toto might experience if the yellow brick road diverts from Oz to ToPilkachu. For sure, Dorothy might declare to her pet terrier her doubts about being in Kansas anymore. It might be an apt observation, considering that instead of wicked witches, winkies, and munchkins, the duo might run into the likes of Moltres, Zapdos, and Articuno.
If you're as bewildered as the main protagonists from The Wizard of Oz, fear not. They're still in Kansas, in particular, the state capital of Topeka. Except this Saturday, thanks to a proclamation by its mayor, Michelle De La Isla, according to WIBW, the city will be retitled ToPilkachu for one day on Saturday.
It's a political directive that's worked before. Back in 1998, the ToPikachu moniker alteration took place to immortalize Topeka as the official launch city for Nintendo's Pokémon video game, as part of the Japanese marketing company responsible for the Pokémon trading card and animated video craze that was in full swing at the time. The town's rebranding pays tribute to Pikachu, Pokémon's mascot.
This time, the move is to add more publicity clout to Nintendo's forthcoming release of it's latest video game Pokémon Let's Go. Two Nintendo trucks will be on hand at the city's Gage Park and the Topeka Zoo (also rebranded ToPikachu) to enable fans a first-hand try at the latest amusement.
It also seems that Topeka has become an old hand at this form of hyperbole. In 2010, for the entire month of March, the city changed its name to Google to draw awareness to the search engine corporation's rollout of fiber optic broadband boasting a speed of one gigabit per second.
Municipalities changing names for economic gain are nothing new in the U.S. In 2005, the town of Clark, Texas, permanently opted to be called Dish, in exchange for free satellite hardware and programming for a year from Dish Network. Back in 1950, the town of Hot Springs, New Mexico briefly went under the name Truth Or Consequences which resulted in a successful bid to host the popular NBC game show.