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Taco Bell places QR codes at center of print campaign

Taco Bell is proving that QR codes continue to work in the company?s favor with a mobile-enabled print campaign that links consumers to recipes and information about its new product launch.

Taco Bell worked with Draftfcb Orange County on this initiative. The campaign is part of a new partnership between Taco Bell and Chef Lorena Garcia that includes gourmet-inspired new menu additions.

?Bringing gourmet to fast food is something that has never been done before, so we wanted a print execution that had never been done before as well,? said Scott Murray, creative director at Draftfcb Orange County, Orange County, CA.

?We loved the idea of creating QR codes out of actual ingredients, because we knew it would be visually compelling and would help tell our quality story,? he said. ?But, there was also something valuable users would get for snapping the code ? the actual recipes themselves.?

Eat on mobile
Taco Bell is running magazine ads featuring a mobile bar code in People and US Weekly magazines.

To help promote the new line of dishes as being fresh, the QR codes are made out of either avocados or lemons.

Each ad links users to a specific recipe that matches the ingredient. For instance, the print ad featuring avocados directs to a guacamole recipe while the ad with the lemon leads to a lemon-marinated chicken recipe.

The ads also explain to consumers how to scan the QR code and include a call-to-action with a link to the campaign?s mobile site.

When scanned, the ad directs users to, which includes recipes, videos and information about the new products.

In addition to learning more about the new campaign, users can share content via social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.

At the bottom of the site, users can find a nearby restaurant by using their device?s built-in GPS. The site then brings up a list of Taco Bell locations with click-to-call and map features.

The mobile-enabled print ad

Scan me in
This is not the first time that Taco Bell has used mobile bar codes around a campaign.

Most recently, Taco Bell placed mobile bar codes on its Doritos Locos tacos to help build hype around the new product (see story).

Last year, the fast food chain partnered with ESPN to roll out on-pack mobile bar codes that tied in with the BCS football games (see story). 

Although many marketers doubt the effectiveness of QR codes, companies such as Taco Bell prove that the technology can be engaging for consumers. Additionally, by continually using the channel, Taco Bell is able to educate consumers on mobile with more than just a one-off QR code campaign.

?The goal of the campaign is to turn skeptics into believers: to show consumers that this gourmet menu at Taco Bell is the real deal, that Lorena Garcia truly was intimately involved in the development and creation of the menu and of course that it looks and tastes delicious,? Mr. Murray said.

?We know that people spend a lot of time looking for recipes and information on their mobile devices,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York