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Six QR code campaigns that actually worked

QR codes are now a common feature in marketing campaigns, though many people are often sceptical about their value. 

This scepticism is often justified as, though we have seen some creative examples, QR codes are often used very badly

Also, while it is easy to find creative examples, brands and marketers aren’t always forthcoming about revealing the stats around campaigns. 

So here are six examples where we have some stats, and where QR codes have been used effectively…

German retailer built QR codes using Lego bricks to drive customers to their online store.

Users were then able to buy the bricks used to make the QR code.

While it is a very creative use of QR codes, the execution wasn’t perfect as it linked to a desktop site.

But it was still a huge success, as 49% of visitors to came via the QR codes while the campaign was live, and twice as many brick boxes were sold for the Lego models included in the QR adverts.


Last year Heinz put QR codes on ketchup bottles in US restaurants to promote its new environmentally friendly packaging.

It linked to a mobile site where users could win prizes by answering a green knowledge trivia question.


Heinz reported that more than 1m consumers scanned the codes.


This is another example of a retailer being creative with QR codes but also achieving excellent engagement.

Emart, South Korea’s largest retailer, created a shadow QR code that only became visible when the sun was at the correct angle in the sky between midday and 1pm. 

It was all to promote a ‘sunny sale’ mobile site that gave access to special offers, coupons and a download for the e-commerce app.

As a result of the campaign Emart sold more than 12,000 coupons, membership increased 58% on the previous month and sales increased 25% during lunchtime.

However it’s important to bear in mind that the use of QR codes is far more common in South Korea.

And, unlike the UK, they get sunshine. 

Dow Chemicals

Perhaps not a company you would expect to experiment with digital consumer technology, Dow Chemicals placed a QR code in a range of print ads last September.

The ‘Dow Chemicals Solutionism’ campaign linked to mobile video content providing information about the advertised products.

Users could also view social content and blogs related to the adverts.

By the end of the year the codes had been scanned more than 20,000 times.

Transport for London

TfL currently uses QR codes on posters at tube stations to promote its real-time mobile bus timetables.

Using QR codes on the underground seems a daft idea, but the results are encouraging.

Thanks to mobile web consultant Terence Eden, we can see that the codes have been scanned 16,000 times in the past five months.

In March the codes were scanned more than 5,000 times, peaking at 259 scans on April 3,  so usage appears to be increasing over time.

There were initially 400 posters put up at tube stops around London, so the number of scans may seem fairly low.

However, as Eden points out, you need to benchmark that against how many people you would expect to ring a phone number or go to a website published on the same poster.


During New York Fashion Week L’Oreal put QR codes in taxis that linked to how-to videos featuring Yves Saint Laurent and Lancôme beauty products.

Viewers could also buy the products from the website.

While a moving taxi isn’t perhaps the most convenient place to try and get 3G access, L’Oreal was guaranteed a captive audience and drew attention to the codes using calls to action within the cab.

L’Oreal reported a 7% overall purchase conversion rate from the QR codes, while downloads of the app increased by approximately 80% during the five day campaign.

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