QR codes, or rapid response codes, have been around for for two decades, but organisations have only just begun to embrace these cryptic black and white squares. If you’re still not sure what QR codes are, read our quick primer on the subject.
Every week, we get a barrage of headlines about how a company is employing a QR Code generator to create QR Codes and boost audience engagement in their marketing campaigns. Some are incredibly innovative, while others are perceived as a nuisance by customers. We won’t go into detail about how QR Codes have been abused; instead, we’ll look at some of the best and most imaginative QR Code advertisements from this year. So, without further ado, here are the best QR Code campaigns we saw in 2011.
No one is more time-crunched than South Koreans. Tesco, a South Korean supermarket chain, devised a unique approach to bring the grocery shop to the customer in order to save time (see video). Tesco ran a QR Code campaign that included massive images of food on the walls of South Korean subway stations. These photographs were accompanied by a QR Code that allowed customers to scan particular food items to add them to their virtual shopping cart. Their order was processed and delivered to the consumer’s doorstep once they completed their checkout.
For their “Our Turn to Serve” promotion, Heinz Ketchup cleverly incorporated QR Codes. The promotion allowed Americans to express their gratitude to individuals who had served in the military. Customers were able to leave individual notes for American troops by scanning the QR Code on the bottle of ketchup. Heinz also paid 57 cents to the Wounded Warrior Project for every “thank you” he received.
Starbucks provided a unique opportunity for customers to understand more about their coffee. Users were able to watch short movies promoting Starbucks’ new mobile payment app, as well as interviews with coffee experts, its history, and information on local traditions from where the coffee was grown, by scanning QR Codes in popular newspapers and magazines.
JCPenny ran one of the most current ads. This holiday season, the clothing shop allowed customers to send personalised holiday cards to friends and family. Users may scan the QR Code after purchasing an item, record up to 60 seconds of audio, and then attach the QR Code to the gift, making it that much more memorable.
Phillips & Company:
Taking QR Code advertising to a whole new level, Phillips & Company produced Blue Marble, which provided advertising space to those soaring through the sky. The startup aimed to infiltrate Google Maps with their “scannable” codes for mobile users by painting QR Codes on the tops of roofs. The trick appears to have worked, as evidenced by this photo.
Earlier this year, Victoria’s Secret entered the mobile advertising arena with their undoubtedly smart “Sexier than Skin” campaign, which included QR Codes. The idea was simple: big billboards with virtually naked models were erected. The most “revealing” portions were then covered with QR Codes, tempting visitors to scan the codes to discover the secret — the secret being their range of women’s underwear.
My first article, coming so soon after our essay on QR Code Disasters, seems to be on some of the most famous QR codes. Many people are surprised to learn that the QR code has been around for 18 years, having been devised by Toyota in 1994 to track their cars through the production process. Marketers and advertising have just recently begun to embrace the QR code. When QR (or Quick Response) codes are used in conjunction with a smartphone barcode reader, the general premise is that instant contact with a company’s offering is facilitated. It remains to be seen whether these handy small codes will be utilised for a long time or are just a fleeting craze. In any case, we should appreciate the ingenuity that they have sparked. So, without further ado, here are a few of the best/most creative QR codes available:
Skydiving Bet on Betfair Football QR Code
I know it will make American readers cringe, but I’m going to do it anyway: I’m going to call soccer football! Betfair blended a big and clever QR code with a viral video campaign in this innovative marketing. They created a massive QR code using 2,000 footballs, 8 fashionable assistants, and 5 hours. They also had someone skydive from a plane overhead and scan it on their phone to confirm it worked.
Largest QR Code’ by Air en Fate
The world’s unofficially largest QR code. Although it does not have a certificate from the fine people at Guinness World Records, Air en Fete created this monster, and it is now the world’s largest ever QR code.