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3 Creative Ways to Use QR Codes in Marketing

By: Roberto Blake | March 18, 2015

It’s not a new idea, but adding QR codes to your design work—packaging, advertisements, etc.—can still be a valuable marketing tool that increases engagement with your brand or your client’s brand. Here, Roberto Blake offers tips for effectively incorporating QR codes into your design work today.

1. Improve the Customer Experience

Virtual Shopping for Real Products: With QR codes, you can bring the shopping experience to customers on the go with a few taps on their smartphones. By scanning a QR code, a customers can add products to their shopping card from a Virtual Kiosk or a shopping catalog and have them delivered to their home without having to set foot in a crowded store or supermarket.

This is a great way to leverage technology to make an experience more convenient. Back when it introduced online streaming, Netflix used this approach to change how customers approached movie rentals, and it was wildly successful. Taking inconveniences out of the equation builds intense brand loyalty.

Give Your Customers More Product Information: QR Codes create a unique opportunity to give customers more information and context on a product or service, allowing for a clean minimalist packaging design. It also means that the supplemental information doesn’t have to be static. You can provide an informative video and other interactive content that prompts further engagement with the brand.

In a practical sense, this approach can be especially useful in food packaging because you can provide more nutrition information for shoppers with dietary or health restrictions. You can also use QR codes to attach digital product manuals to the packaging, which makes for easy access and reduces the company’s environmental footprint by eliminating printed manuals.

Sorted, a European social media-based cooking channel, sells a line of cooking utensils with packaging the features magnetic QR codes. The QR code links consumers to hundreds of free video recipes (Packaging by Stickman Designs.)

2. Using QR Codes With Creative Video Content

Talking Resume: Victor Petit decided that a static old-school resume wasn’t going to cut it for his job search. Instead, he created a talking resume by linking QR code on his resume to a video that fit into the overall resume design. This technique has since become a hot trend in the advertising world.


Animated Tattoo: Karl Marc, a tattoo artist from Paris, created the first ever “animated tattoo” for Ballantine’s, a whiskey brand. The concept for the campaign was “Leave an Impression” and it certainly does. Since he live streamed the tattoo creation, Marc has received more requests for more animated tattoo designs.


From Magazine to Mazda: Using QR Codes in a print ad is a great way to turn static media into an interactive experience. “From Magazine to Mazda” is a great example of this approach. When users scan the QR code, they are directed to an app that accesses the nearest Mazda dealership and allows you to browse the inventory or find directions.


3. Interactive Real-time Marketing and Information for Old Media

Quick Tickets: Print and Out-of-Home Advertising is not as dead as people think. By taking advantage of QR codes, you can give your customers an engaging real-time experience. QR codes on posters, billboards and flyers allow users to immediately buy tickets for an event or movie just by grabbing the code. They can even be utilized in direct mail campaigns.

UK-based student designer Sam Cook created this campaign to brand and promote an exhibition at The Guggenheim Museum celebrating the life and works of Frank Lloyd Wright. (Images from Behance.)

Wearable QR Codes: Turn t-shirts into an interactive experience by incorporating a QR code into the design. The QR code might link to a promo video, exclusive content or a free download that sparks interest in the product or the brand. This approach can even add a collectible aspect to the shirts by offering unique benefits for various designs.

QR Codes for Real-time Info: Providing real-time updates for plane, train or bus schedules can be convenient—or even crucial—for transportation. A few years ago, the city of Frankfurt, Germany introduced smart posters to help commuters get travel information and updates on special events in the area.

Cool Beer Labels: The Best Art & Design from Breweries Around the World

Whether you drink beer or not, the recent growth of the craft brewing industry and its popularity is undeniable. What better way is there to celebrate the increase of breweries than to admire one of the aspects that makes these beers great: their label design? Featuring well-designed labels from craft and small breweries from around the world, Cool Beer Labels by Daniel Bellon and Steven Speeg demonstrates how commercialized packaging design can be elevated to a whole new level. Not only will you get a chance to peruse these label designs, but you’ll also find interviews with those involved in their design process, like the owner, master brewer, or designer of the packaging. Get a taste of quality packaging design, and great beer, and delve into an exploration of fun design and a celebration of the craft brew culture. Get it here.

#interactive #QRCodes