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Top 10 QR code campaigns of Q1

Taco Bell

Taco Bell taps QR codes to drive engagement

Nowadays there is a love/hate relationship with QR codes. However, although many are against mobile bar codes, brands such as Starbucks, Kraft and Taco Bell are proving them to be essential to targeting new and existing consumers. 

Over the past year, QR codes have gained momentum. Mobile bar codes are constantly being seen on billboards, bus shelters and product packaging to not only drive user engagement, but sales as well.

Here are the top 10 QR code campaigns of the first quarter, in alphabetical order.

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Bath & Body Works
Earlier this year, personal care retailer Bath & Body Works used mobile bar codes to strengthen its social media strategy.

More brands are using mobile to ramp up their social efforts. For this campaign, Bath & Body works sent out direct mail pieces that promoted its line of fragrance products that tied in with an in-store promotion.

When consumers scanned the mobile bar code they were directed to Bath & Body Works’ Facebook page where they could engage with other fans, as well as learn more about the company’s new products.

By placing QR codes on its direct mail pieces, Bath & Body works was able to engage its existing customer base.

There was also a prominent call-to-action on the direct mail piece that encouraged users to connect with the brand on Facebook by scanning the QR code.

A campaign such as this is a great way to continue a consumer relationship, beyond just a simple direct piece.

Bath & Body Works was able to keep the conversation going using mobile.

Chili’s Grill & Bar is no stranger to mobile.

The company is proving that mobile bar codes are core part of its marketing strategy by placing them on menus to advertise new products.

Chili’s has placed QR codes at more than 800 corporate-owned restaurants in the United States. The company is also experimenting with mobile bar codes on its children’s menus.

The Chili’s QR code campaign aimed to promote healthier living. The mobile bar codes linked to seven new healthy Chili’s menu items.

Consumers were encouraged to scan the mobile bar codes to view nutritional information and learn more about the dishes.

Coca-Cola’s Powerade partnered with 7-Eleven to put QR codes the Big Gulp cups.

The campaign let March Madness basketball fans view exclusive video content.

Each of the four collectible cups featured a mobile bar code that linked to Powerade’s mobile site where CBS Sports Analyst, Greg Anthony hosted a brief video a featured big play.

The mobile bar code campaign was a limited-time initiative.

Additionally, the video content was exclusive to 7-Eleven, compliments of Powerade.

The campaign was a great way for 7-Eleven to engage consumers in-store. Powerade also enticed them to scan the mobile bar code to view exclusive content.

Duane Reade
New York drugstore Duane Reade took an innovative route with its QR code campaign.

The company placed mobile bar codes on its store windows to drive social media impressions and foot traffic.

The Duane Reade QR codes could clearly be seen when consumers passed the store location. The “Get Social with Duane Reade” campaign was part of Duane Reade’s major digital push in 2012.

Duane Reade also heavily integrated social into its mobile bar code campaign by placing Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and YouTube icons right next to the QR code.

Placing mobile bar codes on store windows is a great way to stop consumers in their tracks and let them engage with the brand.

Additionally, by adding social aspects, users are able to stay in touch with Duane Reade no matter if they are using Facebook, Twitter, foursquare or Youtube to do so.

Johnny Rockets
Unlike many companies who use QR codes to drive in-store traffic, sales or even their social efforts, Johnny Rockets used the technology to builds its email database.

The international restaurant chain placed QR codes on signage throughout its locations to encourage consumers to join its Rocket e-club and receive local updates and deals.

The initiative was a smart move for the company in many ways.

For example, when consumers were sitting in a booth in the restaurant and waiting for their meal, there was a sign on their table that featured a QR code and encouraged them to scan it to learn more about how they can sign up for deals.

When users scanned the mobile bar code they were redirected to a mobile landing page where they could sign up to receive special offers and featured promotions.

Consumers were asked to enter their email address, full name, address, city, state, ZIP code, birthday and which Johnny Rockets location they frequent most.

In addition to QR codes, Johnny Rockets also used SMS to build its database by having consumers text the keyword ROCKETS000 to the short code 99158.

KFC was out of the mobile scene for a while, but when it came down to promoting its new Classic Pot Pie, the fast food giant went full force.

In addition to running mobile ads that promoted the new product, KFC also placed QR codes that let consumers vie for a chance to win hundreds of prizes given away every hour.

Prizes included a trip to Las Vegas, KFC chicken for a year, Dr. Pepper for a year or a one year premium Slacker Personal Radio subscription.

When users scanned the QR code they were redirected to a mobile landing page where they could enter the code featured on their soft drink cup.

Consumers also had the option of sharing the sweepstakes with friends and family through Facebook and Twitter. If they shared it, they received another free code.

The campaign was innovative because instead of placing the QR codes on in-store signage, KFC put them on its soft drink cups where more eyes would see it.

Additionally, by linking to a sweepstakes consumers are more inclined to scan the mobile bar code.

As part of its multichannel marketing campaign earlier this year to promote the company’s line of cheeses, Kraft decided to add a QR code component.

Kraft put mobile bar codes on five different cheese products and announced plans that it would place QR codes on more products in the future.

Each product has a unique mobile bar code. When consumers scanned the QR code, they were taken to a mobile landing page where they could view a recipe about the particular cheese product.

In addition to placing mobile bar codes on its packaging, the company is also placing QR codes on print advertisements.

The campaign was a smart move for Kraft because it featured recipes that consumers could make using the company’s products.

By using mobile, Kraft was able to engage consumers and have them coming back to buy more of its products to use on future recipes.

Samuel Adams
Samuel Adams placed QR codes on where its targeted customers would see it best – bar coasters. 

Samuel Adams parent company Boston Beer worked with Wall Printing Co. to create interactive four-panel coasters that folded in a series of directions to reveal the different panels.

A QR code was featured prominently on one of the panels and encouraged bar customers to scan it for a special offer.

According to the company, the coasters were meant to make people notice the Samuel Adams brand and the special offer.

The campaign was also a great way for Samuel Adams to learn more about consumers by having them enter their name, email address, mailing address and date of birth after they scanned the QR code to receive a coupon.

When it comes to mobile, Starbucks is always ahead of the game.

When it came to promote its new coffee roasts, Starbucks used QR codes.

The coffee giant let consumers find their favorite roast via a new campaign. Starbucks handed out bookmark fliers throughout its in-store locations to promote its Blonde, Medium and Dark coffee roasts.

In addition to including a coupon on the bookmark flyer, there was also a mobile bar code that let consumers vote for their favorite roast and watch a video to learn more about the company’s coffee.

The bookmark fliers were a smart move because they not only featured a coupon that consumers were able to redeem, but the QR code was also prominently included and there were directions that let consumers know that they could scan the mobile bar code to learn more about the new products.

Taco Bell/Doritos
Taco Bell has been heavily using QR codes in the past year.

To promote its new Doritos Locos Tacos product, the fast food giant placed mobile bar codes on its packaging, as well as ran targeted mobile ads.

Music played a key role in the Doritos Locos Tacos campaign.

Taco Bell integrated its brand and Doritos Locos Tacos at the Feed the Beat Concert Series.

Those that did not attend the show could still view performances by scanning the QR codes featured on the Doritos Locos Tacos holsters, which led users to exclusive video content showcasing performances from the Hype Hotel.

A new performance was featured each week.

By placing the QR codes on its packaging, consumers were able to clearly see the call-to-action and scan the mobile bar code to engage with the brand.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York


Associate Editor Rimma Kats covers media, television, research and social networks. Reach her at rimma@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Software and technology, Taco Bell, Doritos, Samuel Adams, Starbucks, Chilis, Kraft, Bath and Body Works, KFC, Duane Reade, Coca Cola, 7 Eleven, Johnny Rockets, QR codes, mobile bar codes, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Top 10 QR code campaigns of Q1"

  1. Allen Kerry says:

    April 26, 2012 at 6:13pm

    Who voted these campaigns to be the "TOP" 10 and what were the criteria for ranking them 'top'?

    Can we see published ROI's (or at least the response rates) for these campaigns?

  2. Fadi El-Eter says:

    April 19, 2012 at 9:14am

    I didn't know that you can have something written (actual letters) inside the QR code and it'll still work.

    I wonder how the algorithm (to read the QR) works in this case.
  3. Jerome Ferrara says:

    April 18, 2012 at 1:44pm

    The QR codes are only successful if the landing page is mobile optimized. In this article I was able to scan 2 and although Duane Reade was mobile optimized, it was a clunky experience and did not work in Portrait mode, and the KFC site was no longer mobile optimized.
    The vast majority of these codes still go to non mobile pages and once that is corrected, this can be looked upon as an effective tool.
  4. Jesse Wixson says:

    April 18, 2012 at 7:39am

    Many of these are good and only a few actually interact with the customer in the multiple ways that customer get there information. Mobile pages are a must to start with. On this page you should have links to All of the social media that that company uses like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin ,Four Square. Every individual is different why would you treat them the same. Don't just send them to your facebook or Youtube. Get them to interact with every thing you do. I believe that some of these really hit the mark.
  5. Rich DeForest says:

    April 18, 2012 at 5:43am

    Great article, but I am wondering why there is not a "share on Facebook" link?
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