Genius Examples of QR Codes in Marketing

QR – Quick Response – codes are beginning to gain in popularity as the smartphone-browsing crowd continues to grow. There are almost 2.7 billion mobile users around the globe – a statistic that has marketers brimming with promotions and creative ideas. Although, no one wants to open their smartphone to a clutter of text messages and alerts from QR’s they’ve scanned.

Luckily, there exist companies that have found original and innovative ways to not only get you to scan their code but increase their brand awareness in the process. Here are a few genius examples of QR codes in marketing to get your mind stirring.

Verizon Wireless example

Dating back all the way to 2010 when Verizon staff teamed up with ScanLife to promote a broad range of applications available on its DROID devices. QR codes were showed across in-store displays, print ads, direct mail, and even websites and iPad ads, linking visitors to a particular application on the Android Market for download or a mobile website that displayed some of the top-picks for apps.

Individuals scanning the code with various types of mobiles were directed towards a smartphone website which explained the advantages of DROID and the kinds of apps available. In around three months the campaign received more than 150,000 visits, although at the time it was ScanLife’s best marketing campaign so other companies shouldn’t necessarily expect the same results. Moreover, there were no details of conversions happening from those scans.

All in all, the campaign’s positive effects were attributed to having an integrated campaign across various offline and online channels.

QR codes and business cards

The first thing to determine is where the QR codes are still used. Although the momentum of QR codes since to have slowed down and most industries seem to be searching for the next big thing, you can still find the locations where the QR codes are utilized on business cards. For example, Tech People, We Chat users, and industries in Japan are all still big fans of QR codes on business cards and enjoy the ability to have their clients swiftly scan their card to receive the contact information.

If you want to use them on your business card yourself, first remember to employ professional business printing to ensure that the code is visible and adequately printed for scanning. QR codes give you the ability to keep the contact information on the bare minimum, rather than cluttering your business cards with all your contact info. For instance, you can create a QR code that leads people to your social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Original ads for applications

Even though the popularity of QR coder in advertising is just beginning to grow, there are still businesses and persons making their message loud and clear to early adopters. Instagram and Angry Birds have both used QR codes in the past, through a U.K marketing agency “Made by Stupid”. Both of their QR codes take the individual in question directly to a page for app download and are stunning examples for both ad originality and self-explanatory promotion of the applications themselves.


Yet another genius example of QR code usage is the case study dating back to 2011 when video game developer THQ hid ten QR codes within its Homefront video game that enabled players to unlock exclusive wallpapers and videos.

The QR codes were scanned over 30,000 times within the first 48 hours, and it soon clocked 30,000 wallpaper downloads and 19,000 video views. This is, of course, an original case since the codes unlocked materials which enhanced the gameplay rather than acting as an advertising tool. For instance, one of the codes was placed in the extremist’s garage linked to a propaganda video, while another played the government’s emergency broadcast video explaining the national flu epidemic.

Although not a marketing example per se, this shows a very creative use of QR codes and how individuals are willing to scan them after the right incentive is placed.

As you can see, there are various ways to use QR codes to connect and engage with your chosen audience. QR codes are able to provide additional data, including reviews, photos, directions and event dates. There’s a certain amount of surprise and fun with QR codes since you can reap the benefits of “what behind the door number one” mindset.