Brands Use QR Codes for Mobile Promotions during the Holidays

The holiday season is a busy time for advertising agencies and mobile marketing agencies are no different. They want to make their clients happy by spreading the word about their products and/or services, especially during the highest buying season of the year. Most consumers save all year for the holiday season to roll around then spend like mad men and women. This is true even in down economies; however the spending spree may be reined in a bit. 2011 saw some interesting brand promotions using QR codes.

One brilliant brand’s, MillerCoors LLC, mobile marketing strategy was to incorporate safe drinking practices during this holiday season. This pilot program kicked off in Seattle, Washington in conjunction with local bars and eateries in order to help reduce drunken driving incidents. The mobile marketing program is being called “Click-It-2-Ride.” Smartphone and camera equipped mobile phone users can scan the strategically placed QR codes and get information on safe drinking practices and even quickly call a taxi if they have had too much to drink. This goes in line with their other campaign already in circulation, “Please drink responsibly.” In addition to MillerCoors LLC, the “Click-It-2-Ride” promotion campaign is being sponsored by CBS Radio as well.

At a recent mobile marketing conference the focus was, “Hard Issues: What Needs to Happen to Accelerate Mobile Advertising and Marketing Deployment During the Holidays.” Use of QR codes was a heavily discussed topic. Opponents to heavy usage to spread the word about their clients using the codes cited the need for consumers to have prior knowledge of how to use them. They also said it would be necessary to include on the print ads instructions on using them, which could be distracting from the rest of the ad.

Those at the mobile marketing conference in favor of, and actually defended, the usage of QR codes in holiday advertisements. They feel this marriage print ads and QR codes is perfect and a very powerful marketing tool. They site that aside from some of the pitfalls, QR codes are continuously getting scanned at a rate of three to five million each month. This is in-your-face data they feel cannot be ignored or not utilized for their clients. They expect the number of scans to increase throughout the entire holiday season giving way for an undeniable opportunity for mobile phone advertising.

Another example of a company using QR codes heavily for the 2011 holiday season is Home Depot. They are placing them everywhere. Their QR codes are online at their website and in ads, in their stores and even in their catalogs and sales circulars. They are driving brand awareness with a mobile marketing strategy combined with online and print advertisements, not to mention the television ads. They have demonstrated a full marketing plan that covers all areas. This is a great example of how businesses are going to need to plan their holiday advertising in the future to stay ahead of the competition.