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Why you should consider using QR codes in your marketing

Brendan Straw - Chief Sales Officer, Ovato

Did you know that QR code stands for “Quick Response Code”? Dynamic sounding, right?

It’s odd to think that in the last year and a half of COVID-19 inspired contact tracing, QR codes have become a way of life when most of us probably didn’t even know what “QR” stood for. The act of whipping out your phone, opening the camera app and easily signing in whenever you visit a shop, pub, restaurant, or other public place has become second nature.

Although contact tracing has helped the humble QR code become part of most people’s daily routine, there is much more to them than simply tracking which BBQ Galore’s you have visited.  They’ve been so easily accepted into greater use that many don’t know the amazing things that can be done with them.

So exactly what are QR codes, and how can you use them to make your marketing output more interesting and exciting?

Back to basics

Much like the barcodes you find on a box of cereal or a library book, a QR code is a barcode that stores information as a machine-readable optical label. They’re square, easy to generate and at their most basic, they can contain information including shortcuts to websites, phone numbers, contact forms and so on.

More complicated QR code examples can take advantage of Augmented Reality (AR) markers to drive customers to lush content that can bring products and marketing to life, like animated lifestyle spreads in paper-based catalogues. 

Because they’re small and easily accessed with smartphones, QR codes can be used on everything from business cards to TV ads, billboards, in magazines, and posters. They can effectively be printed on anything, and accessible by anyone with a smartphone.

Interactive creativity

QR codes give marketers the ability to get creative, and to drive customers to specialised landing pages or other content that supercharges marketing efforts.

Lion owned beer label Furphy is using QR codes as part of its latest “Unbelievable” marketing campaign. Posters, POS and unique coasters with QR codes were placed in over 900 bars, pubs and clubs. When customers scan the code with their smartphone, they‘re redirected to a digital experience where they can share their best ‘furphy’ via voice or video and get a free Furphy beer in return.

Instead of just seeing a piece of static content, punters are getting involved and interacting directly, giving them a memorable experience and providing Lion with a huge amount of User Generated Content (UGC) that can feature in future campaign work.

Augmenting retail-ity

Another use of QR codes is to drive shoppers towards deals and sales. Last year, as COVID-19 hit and QR codes became de rigueur, Swedish shopping app Klarna unveiled their “K-Rated” campaign, asking shoppers to scan a QR code that was layered over a “censored” product displayed on a commercial direct from their screens, and in doing so, give customers immediate access to exclusives while also highlighting the key app features of Klarna.

According to Klarna Head of Marketing for Australia and New Zealand, Andrea Darling, “K-Rated will inspire more people to access our world and enjoy the benefits directly from the interactive ads,” while ThinkerBell Chief Thinker, Adam Ferrier, said “being able to create interactive TV spots and out of home ads that embrace Australia’s renewed love of QR codes has been a truly collaborative effort between media and creative.”

Shifting audiences in the “now” from watching an ad to being able to purchase an item moves them through the entire marketing and purchasing routine quickly, leading to faster conversions and greater success.

Bringing catalogues to life

QR codes can bring print media to life and add an interesting dimension to magazines and catalogues. In March 2020, Harper’s Bazaar magazine took readers behind the scenes with exclusive video footage of the high-end photo cover shoot with model Rosie Huntington-Whitely  - all launched via a QR code embedded within the magazine.

Aldi’s recent popular Snow Gear catalogue not only showcased the extensive range of Aldi winter and snow wear, but it included a QR code on the cover. Customers who scanned the QR code would be prompted to play a video that animated the cover bringing it to life and then would be taken to the snow gear section of Aldi’s website.

It’s a great reminder that print catalogues are a powerful marketing touchpoint for brands inside consumers’ homes, especially when combined with digital marketing nous to elevate and deepen an experience.

From little things, big things grow

QR codes have been around for ages, but the full extent of what they can achieve was underappreciated.

COVID-19 drove home how easy and effective QR codes can be. They’re stress free to use for consumers and deliver a range of effective opportunities for marketers and creatives. And with their use now commonplace, brands are in the position of being able to concentrate on getting the most out of them.
 
Thinking of how you can use QR codes in your marketing to bring your print marketing to life? Speak to us today