QR Marks the Spot

Pixelated codes catch the attention of an elusive customer base.


There's a tradition at my house, when TV commercials come on, they get muted. It’s not exactly the reaction companies paying for that airtime were hoping for, but one can only take so many ShamWow commercials before going off the deep end.

This is part of the reason interactive marketing has been heralded as the next wave in advertising, changing the nature of how consumers are approached and sold to. Creativity and fun is key, and the greater the capability to surprise, the more memorable an interactive campaign will be for consumers.

Take, for example, Tipp-Ex’s interactive sensation, the “Hunter Shoots a Bear” campaign. The video is interactive and engaging to the point that consumers hardly pay attention to the fact they’re being advertised to.

A more simplistic interactive marketing trend that has taken over Japan and is rapidly finding root in the United States is QR codes. These small pixilated boxes (when scanned with a smart phone) can provide users data ranging from links, to contact information, to online content or any other number of marketing materials. The trick is that consumers don’t know what information is contained within until they scan.

Google has been using the technology as part of its “Favorite Places” campaign and there are indications Facebook is also considering several ways to implement the technology, reports FastCompany. Mashable even highlighted the placement of giant QR codes in New York City’s Time Square earlier this year.

Ron Daly of Digital Mailer recently provided a number of tips for utilizing QR codes in your personalized marketing strategies, but here’s another good example. FirstBank has utilzied QR codes on several airport billboards, branded with the bank's name and motto. The QR codes link stranded consumers to free Sudoku, crossword, or E-Book downloads, reports thefinancialbrand.com.

Where could your credit union put this technology to use? All that’s needed is potential membership armed with smart phones and one of several free scanner apps, the software to generate the codes, and enticing content that will keep consumers coming back to discover more.


Dec. 14, 2010



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