It’s the Holiday Season: QR Codes and the “Holiday Spirit”
Despite having been around for decades, QR codes didn’t meet marketer or consumer expectations in the delivery of an engaging communications experience. But, 2017’s iOS 11 update changed that. Apple’s software update now allows QR codes to be scanned directly through the camera app and that is a game-changer. The latest Android smartphones also have QR code scanning as a native feature. The combination of native QR readers with 2018 Global Smartphone Penetration of 36% has pushed marketers to target smartphone owners through mobile marketing techniques that blend print with a mobile experience. This holiday season, an array of QR codes applications are showing up to deliver “Holiday Spirit."
Pepsi Takes the Lead
One of the first QR code holiday campaigns launched was by Pepsi. It is a scratch-off promotion all about giving the gift of cash, either to a friend, a charity, or you can keep the money for yourself. To take part in the Pepsi QR code holiday campaign called “Gift it Forward with Pepsi,” consumers simply need to scan QR codes on specially marked beverage packages by Pepsi. If consumers find three Pepsi Globe icons on their digital scratch-off card they will win a cash prize, anywhere from $5 to $25.
The money can be gifted to a friend of your choosing or you can donate it to the United Way, Pepsi’s national charitable partner. You also have the option of pulling a “scrooge” and keeping it for yourself. Whatever you might decide, Pepsi takes care of the money transfer.
Additionally, anyone eligible to take part and who registers an account on the official giftwithpepsi.com site is entered into the grand prize sweepstakes, where they can win an all-expense paid four-day trip to Puerto Rico. Pepsi is giving away a total of eight trips.
The Pepsi QR code “Gift it Forward with Pepsi” promotion runs until the end of the year (Dec. 31, 2019).
More people are using QR codes in their holiday greeting cards. They are fun and add another dimension to the greetings of the season. The codes can link to pictures and videos, enabling you to send recorded greetings to friends and family. There are number of QR code generators available and most of them are free to use.
Will Target Do It Again?
Shoppers at Target may see a lot more scannable QR codes in the aisles this holiday season, if the retailer bets on a free-shipping strategy to help combat online rivals. In the past, Target has showcased the top 20 toys on the main aisle in- store to make finding gifts easier for time-strapped holiday shoppers. For added convenience, each of the top toys will have a QR code that can be scanned to purchase the toy directly using a mobile device and ship it for free to anyone, anywhere in the U.S.
If you have countless nieces and nephews scattered across the country, it means the consumer doesn’t need to worry about postal charges. For mom’s that can’t ditch the kids when holiday shopping, they can still keep presents a secret by scanning the QR code and having them shipped to the house.
This Holiday Season…QR Codes Alive and Well
Although consumers are moving to an on-line environment, they will still be browsing retail shelves and looking at greeting cards. Brands, retailers, and consumers all want to be part of an interactive experience. This holiday season, QR codes will prove to be an ideal way to blend print with an immersive experience. Most of today’s consumers have a smartphone or tablet within arm’s reach, and mobile technology can take printed content to the next level by truly engaging the recipient.
A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. She brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Barb has had a number of high-profile marketing and sales positions including Chief Marketing Officer for the Kodak Graphic Communications Group, Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions, and Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group. She also served as the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). Most recently, Barb was the Group Director for Business Development at InfoTrends. She is currently the Manager of Pellow and Partners, LLC.
Barb can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Mobile, 585-734-2228)