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5 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes

You can find them on print ads, storefronts, cars, billboards and more.* Those black and white squares that look like an aerial view of a corn maze. Some say they look like a barcode, but they’re square so you might call it a box-code. Allow me to give you a visual:

Go ahead. Scan me.

As those in the tech savvy industry know, these bar-codey-thingys are Quick Response Codes or QR codes.

QR codes can be scanned into a Smartphone like a Droid or iPhone (but you’ll need an app for that). The codes direct consumers to a specific web address built by the company who created the advertisement. Often, QR codes are used to direct the consumer to the company’s website, yet there are ways to be more creative with QR codes, and many businesses do not take full advantage of the possibilities. Here are 5 ways you can use QR codes to get the attention you want from consumers.

Number One: Special Promotions
If you’re going to use a QR code in a print ad, make sure the code doesn’t direct the consumer to the homepage of your website. You probably already have your company’s URL already listed on the ad, and anyone can Google search your company’s name to get to your webpage. Having a QR code that does the same thing is, well, redundant.

Instead, give consumers access to special discounts and promotions. Have the QR code take them to an exclusive offer on your website. Consumers like to feel like they are part of an exclusive group, and they love discounts! (If I may state the obvious.) The point is to get consumers to interact with your print ad and encourage them to purchase.

Number Two: Scavenger Hunt
One of our clients, the City of Miamisburg has already put this idea to the test. They held a “ScanVenger Hunt” to get people to explore the businesses of Downtown Miamisburg. The idea is to place QR codes around a city at various businesses. Teams of people scan the QR codes to get clues to the next location. How you come up with the prizes and challenges for the participants is entirely up to you. Be as creative as possible. It’s a fun event, and a great way to get new customers to step foot inside your business.

Number Three: More Media
Direct consumers to more interactive forms of media in places were the consumer may be bored or may have time to kill, such as on the subway or on a bus. Give the consumer something to do. If you have a new commercial promoting your product or perhaps you are advertising a play or movie, have a QR code that links the consumer to your commercial or preview. Don’t just tell, show!

An advertisement for a new kids’ show might lead parents and children to a fun interactive game that can be played on the show’s website. Parents will be grateful to your company when you engage restless children in a public place.

Number Four: Inspire Investigation
Get your consumer curious about what lies beyond the barcode. Reel the consumer in with a sexy tagline like, “Get it Uncensored,” “What is Victoria’s Secret?,” or “Not for the faint of heart,” but be warned. If you disappoint on the other end of the QR code that creates negative brand recall. Whether you follow through on the riskier content or surprise the consumer with some kind of twist, like a play-on-words, be sure the consumer is pleased, not disappointed. It’s a riskier form of advertising, but with big pay-offs if your strategy delivers.

Number Five: Bar Coaster Challenges
Coasters, napkins, disposable cups – take your pick. Create cheesy pick-up lines, dares, jokes, etc for the consumer to view when they scan the QR code on the coaster. For example, “Go up to a woman and ask her this…[a question in a different language].” More than likely neither party will know what it means, and this can spark a discussion. Get people talking and they enjoy a social experience that they wouldn’t have otherwise had without your QR code. This creates positive brand recall whenever the consumer thinks about your brand. They will also be likely to tell others about this unique experience, and word-of-mouth advertising is your best friend.

QR codes are a great way to get consumers to interact with your brand. Just don’t bore them! Go beyond the, “Get more information here,” and use the code to create a mystery consumers can’t wait to solve.

*Please note that these are examples of where you can find QR codes. Schlegel Creative does not endorse the use of QR codes on cars, billboards, television ads or websites. QR codes are best used on your stationary print materials.

Laura Posted by Laura