QR Code that Works!

By | December 18, 2013

In contrast to QR Codes that take you nowhere and that legitimately draw the disdain of the QR-skeptical, I ran across a great use for QR Codes that, even if you aren’t going to use them on beverage labels, might spark some ideas for your clients.

IMG_2555I recently was intrigued by a package of Angry Orchard hard cider. I hadn’t run across the brand before, so it came home with me. On the label was a QR Code. I scanned it, of course.

There were no instructions with the code, so there was an assumption that the brand’s audience understands and uses QR Codes. Either that or they were seeking response from a specific demographic within their broader customer base — a more tech-savvy demographic for whom no explanation was necessary.

Upon landing on the microsite, I found a well designed and very interesting microsite. It contained an invitation to connect with talking trees, a store locator, and links to visit trees in flavors offered by the brand beyond what was on the shelf at that particular store. Apple Ginger — who knew?

I had no idea what to expect from the talking trees, so I clicked through the link for crisp apple and was posed with the question: “How do you like your apples?” I typed in, “In applesauce cookies, of course.” I could then hear the tree speak it back in animation a la Lord of the Rings to me only or I could post the animation via social media.

Also available was a flavor profile, which gave me ABV, color, and food pairings I never would have thought of, such as Thai red curry with coconut milk and earthy spices, as well as more mainstream “steak and cheese, with slightly charred onions and peppers that add smoke to contrast the sweetness of the apple.”

So here we have a great use of QR Codes to draw in a specific demographic and give them something of value — entertainment relevant to that demographic, entertainment that is interesting enough that that demographic will want to share it (while simultaneously promoting the brand), product information relevant to that audience, and cross-sales information in an interesting and relevant way that is interesting rather than heavy-handed.

I just thought this site was very well done and shows that QR Codes do have an important and very relevant place in mainstream marketing.

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8 thoughts on “QR Code that Works!

  1. Joe Manos

    Great post Heidi.

    Brands are taking the lead with great use cases with QR Codes. I use Red Bull and Magic Hat Beer examples when guest speaking with marketers.

    These brands do exactly what you have stated, create engaging microsites, with good offers and information that the responder find value on multiple levels once at the site.

    QR Codes aren’t going away, just the opposite they are growing as marketers create relevant, interactive sites that start a dialogue with their customers and prospects.

    You need the right technology, process and tracking and measurement to make these marketing tools more effective, short and long-term for the marketer.

  2. Jim Olsen

    Hi Heidi: Wouldn’t you just love to meet the creators of this campaign? It would be so much fun to learn the details of how it all came together including the interaction of the creatives and the customer. It would be even more fun (and education) to be involved in building a new campaign with these guys. I think I would feel exhilarated and exhausted after a day working with them. They are the ones who get it now and in the future.

    Clicking on their main web page is a real experience. So is their Facebook page. They sure know what they are doing.

    As a sobering note, I know it caught your fancy as it caught mine, but it I would be very interested in knowing the R.O.I.

  3. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    Yup — the challenge is that for uses like these, there are no direct links for purchases so ROI would be very hard to track. In this case, the primary goal of the campaign seems to be increasing the level of awareness of the brand’s entire line of products. If the brand had wanted to directly track ROI, I suppose it could use some kind of “present this code at the time of purchase and get X [discount, free talking tree app for your phone, etc.).

  4. Katherine

    Finally, a positive post about QR codes! This is an excellent example and every print marketer should be all over this. It’s our responsibility to educate our clients about proper use of cross media tools.

  5. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    Thanks, Katherine! I’ve actually written lots of positive posts on QR Codes. You can see them by clicking on “bloggers” and then my author archive. Hopefully, lots of great stuff for you to share in there.

  6. Kate Dunn

    This sounds like a terrific campaign. I love the interactivity and the social sharing. Thank you for sharing it and now I have to go out and find some Angry Orchard Hard CIder!

  7. Gina Testa

    Studies show that marketing campaigns generate better results when multiple media are deployed, including both print and digital. A key role print plays is in serving as a source for discovering the digital world’s offerings. And QR codes and other scannable symbols can take the reader to those sites automatically with a simple scan of a smart phone. I anticipate that these and other technologies will continue to bring new interactive capabilities to print in the future. Angry Orchard’s use of QR codes is just one example of the endless adventures that print can ignite. – Gina Testa, Vice President, Xerox Worldwide Graphic Communications Business, @GinaTesta

  8. thomaus

    I’d love to see an A/B comparison on the response rate between the QR code versus registering a memorable URL and just putting the words “Talk to our trees at treesthattalk.com.” on the label.

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