While having dinner with friends at Red Robin the other night, two of my friends both took their smart phones up to a Heinz ketchup bottle that sat in the basket of condiments at the center of our table. I thought this was odd, I mean, I know sharing everything and anything we do online nowadays is a trend we've come to accept as the norm, but a ketchup bottle? What I came to realize was my friends were actually using their smart phones to scan the QR code on the back of the Heinz bottle. Why? Heinz has decided to jump on the QR code bandwagon and utilize one of the newest marketing strategies to promote its current "Guess What We Just Planted" campaign. The successful ketchup brand might be 140-years old, but their latest marketing strategy is keeping the brand fresh and up-to-date with the latest Internet trends.
First things first, what's a QR code?
A quick response code (QR code) can store up to 4,296 alphanumeric or 7,089 numeric characters as a means for mobile tagging (JumpScan). QR codes have actually been around since 1994, but with the rise of everything that encompasses the social web, the trend has taken over as a must-have marketing strategy.
Brands Using Mobile Tagging
Just as it stands for, "quick response," a QR code allows a person with a smart phone or web enabled device to scan the code in order to quickly access information. For example, Starbucks utilizes QR codes for easy and efficient purchases. Coffee fiends can enjoy their daily fix by updating their Starbucks card online, which is then scanned (via the QR code) by the barista for payment. No cash, no card - just take out your phone and be on your way.
Major TV stations, Hollywood films and even entire cities have utilized QR codes for their marketing campaigns. HBO's True Blood used the QR code to generate buzz around the show's highly anticipated season 3 last year. Fans scanned the QR code which brought them to the video trailer for a tease of the new season of vampire romance.
Our Nation's Capital is also playing around with QR codes. The OCTO labs in Washington D.C partnered with Qr arts to design a code that allows riders to tweet, leave comments and view bus schedules all from a quick scan of the QR code plastered on the side of the bus.
How Popular are QR codes?
QR codes are popping up all over, but how many people are actually scanning and making use of the new marketing strategy? The Android and iOS markets see the largest engagement when it comes to QR codes, but what about the rest? Not all smart phones are equipped with easy-to-use QR scanners, which leaves a large percentage of mobile users out of the loop; however, it seems despite the mobile market, QR marketing and promotion can only move up from here. As mobile use soars and new mobile phones out-perform the last, I have a feeling QR codes will become a standard that's here to stay.
More information on QR codes: