Did you know that QR codes have been in existence since 1994? The tiny little squares of data were invented by Denso-Wave as a way to track parts used in car manufacturing. And as with many good ideas, coupled with the skyrocketing adoption of camera-equipped smart phones, QR codes are finally beginning to gain some traction amongst marketers and consumers here in the United States.
I have to admit my own fascination with QR codes increased when I got my iPhone. I happily and enthusiastically scan QR codes wherever I go. Perhaps it’s the fact that you have no idea where they’re going to take you. Will it be a contest? …A coupon? …A game? …A video? …An app? Oh so much potential!
Below are a few examples of QR codes I’ve found particularly interesting. Some have come from our members at Second Wind and some are for mainstream brands like Target and jetBlue. In any event, they all use QR codes in clever and engaging ways:
In this ad for Target’s line of Blue + White inspired décor, the savvy retailer encourages customers to scan a QR code for home styling ideas from HGTV star Sabrina Soto. The code links to a video filled with tips from Sabrina. Target also provides instructions for downloading a scanner as well as a URL (Target.com/Sabrina) for those without a code reader or smartphone.
SMITH & JONES-
Second Wind member smith & jones devised this clever way of showcasing their new work to clients and prospects. In the case of Purple Project #412, s&j designed a calendar for Tufts University. The postcard highlights the challenge facing the agency along with the solution and gives recipients a chance to scan a QR code to win a free calendar (which s&j purchased from their client). Chris Tieri, President of s&j, says that moving forward, the agency “might show a behind-the-scenes on a photo shoot, and/or give an interesting recipe away, or a coupon for a new client. Each time should be different.”
If you love MINI’s the way I love MINI’s then the above code is a real treat. To introduce the MINI Countryman, iPhone owners are encouraged to scan the code to download the Virtual MINI app. Use the app to see how the Countryman would look in your driveway, on top of a mountain, or “anywhere else your heart desires.” (You can also download the app directly from iTunes, Facebook, and MINIUSA.COM)
Another Second Wind member, MicroMass, designed this fun and engaging holiday card as a way to showcase their QR code creating talents. Recipients of the greeting were encouraged to use their phones to select one of four charities listed. In return MicroMass made a donation in their name. Each QR code was customized to suit the holiday season. A great way to put technology to good use.
The combination of late night talk shows and musical guests is nothing new. But the way Jimmy Fallon, pioneer that he is, held up an oversized QR code to introduce his musical guest Tyler, The Creator and Hodgy Beats of Odd Future, is. Viewers scanned the code and were taken to oddfuture.com where there was a music video waiting. Interesting use of a QR code and certainly one of the more mainstream uses I’ve seen.
In this example jetBlue takes a fun code-inside-of-a-code approach to promote a getaway contest to St. Pete/Clearwater. It’s a little hard to see here but the large code is comprised of tiny photos of people having fun in the sun. Users can scan the code and land at Jet2TheBeach.com for a chance to enter and win the contest. The use of QR codes to drive consumers to an opt-in site is a good one, but I think the creative on this particular campaign is especially nice.
In addition to showing you a few examples of what I think is working in QR codes I hope this inspires you to undertake a QR project of your own, whether for your agency or a client. In the meantime, happy scanning!