Thinking Outside the QR Code Box

Posted by Sarah Chew on June 6, 2012  |   No Comments »

QR codes are everywhere. These patterned boxes offer a window into another rich dimension of information about and interaction with a brand when scanned by a smart phone, providing a valuable means of engagement with consumers. Now, most brands feel that a QR code is required on every ad, collateral piece and product package. But digital media marketing expert Sean X. Cummings reminds businesses that a QR code is a tool that needs to be used wisely to be effective.

“They are a tactic, not a business strategy,” he says, “and tactics are only useful as long as there are creative uses that inspire and delight people.”

One use that inspired and delighted us in the Progressive Communications Design Group is the Guinness QR Cup.

Guinness wanted to become more relevant and get talked about in bars. To accomplish this, ad agency BBDO New York designed a unique QR code to adhere to a pint glass. When the glass is empty – or filled with a liquid other than Guinness – the QR code is unreadable. When filled with genuine black Guinness stout, however, the code is fully revealed and able to be scanned with a smart phone.

Scanning the code activates a full range of fun social media activities. It prompts you to tweet about your pint, update your Facebook status, check in at 4square, and invite your friends to join you. Scanning also downloads coupons and promotions, and launches exclusive Guinness content.

We loved the Guinness QR Cup because it makes the QR code a design element on the glass itself, rather than something added. We also appreciated the well-thought-out social media experience that scanning the code delivers. When people are at a bar or pub, they’re in a sociable mood, and are therefore more inclined to tweet about it and update their status. The QR code adds an entertaining element that encourages people to interact with each other as well as with the brand.

Of course, we’re no strangers to using QR codes as a powerful interactive tool for our clients, either. Since the early days of the smart phone phenomena, Progressive Communications has been a leader in the integration of QR coding into creative campaigns. Xerox has formally recognized us as a primary innovator and world-class provider of QR technology.

We see inspiration everywhere for finding exciting new ways to involve consumers with brands. QR codes offer endless possibilities. If you’d like to see how we can be inspired by your brand or business, feel free to contact us!


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