In advertising, QR codes (otherwise known as Quick Response Codes) are the last thing that marketers want to use these days. Issues like: the scanner doesn’t work or issues with downloading the code reader are usually the main reasons why marketers shy away.
With the improvement of the smart phone technology, things could be looking up for QR codes. Here are a few instances where QR code marketing could be effective:
You optimize the user experience: Make the time to scan worth their while. For their Valentine’s Day Promotion, ATL Automotive (Jamaica’s leading automotive group dealer) posted a simple black & white full-page press ad in the Observer, with a QR code and a “call-to-action” message: Scan your code for a chance to win tickets to see “Fifty Shades of Grey” on Valentine’s Day! #FiftyShadesofAudi
The idea that you can win a coveted ticket to the “most talked about movie of the year” has an air of excitement to it.
It has to add value: If the code is leading to a coupon, discount, a chance to win offer or a more in-depth insight into the brand then I say by all means use it. However, if your code is just leading to the home page of a website or your Facebook page, skip it.
Did I scan the code to for a chance to win the tickets? Unfortunately, I did not. They did post the code on their Instagram page and I typed in the url. It took me to a mailing list subscription.
However, the black and white ad also offered a hashtag, #50ShadesofAudi which encourages the conversation to continue on social media.
It suits the brand: According to Mashable, “The QR Code was invented in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, and was originally designed to allow components to be scanned at high-speed.”
For ATL Automotive, which is a company who sells cars, the idea of using something that was once used to track vehicles is poetic.
Christian Grey also mentions Audi in the book. Also poetic.
Alternatives to QR codes? SMS short codes, for one can be really effective. Do you think QR codes can work in advertising? Leave me your comments.