Pokemon GO brought a public interest in AR, but that was as you mentioned that was largely due to the Pokemon brand; also people have largely forgotten that it was built off the back of Niantic's first AR game Ingress, which has a much smaller userbase but helped to establish the massive database of real world locations that the Pokestops and gyms are found at. Without all that pre-existing data to make it widely accessible from the start, it probably would have been another forgotten niche side game in the Pokemon franchise rather than becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
Personally I feel like the real limiting factor to public acceptance now is that AR is just too cumbersome to access, requiring you to be physically holding your phone/tablet/whatever in front of your face constantly to make it work. Google Glass was probably the closest potential method of unencumbered AR use so far, but as we all know that was so obvious and invasive that it became extremely undesirable. I can't see AR really becoming a fully everyday thing until it can be accessed in a way that's inexpensive, unobtrusive and convenient. If/when the hardware reaches that point, the software will eventually follow.