5 Brands Using QR Codes to Drive Traffic to Online Platforms

5 Brands Using QR Codes to Drive Traffic to Online Platforms

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The predictions were correct. QR codes are back — in a big way.

After debuting in the 1990s, then losing relevance in the early 2000s, QR codes came roaring back to life in 2020. Now, three years after QR codes re-entered the mainstream during the Covid-19 pandemic, some of the biggest brands in the world are incorporating the technology into their summertime campaigns. 

An estimated 94 million consumers will scan a QR code this year. The action of scanning a QR code is simple for consumers, and it provides brands with a straightforward way to collect mountains of first-party data. QR codes that recognize how many times they’ve been scanned and serve sequenced content are being used to entice people to visit physical stores and drive mobile traffic to brands’ online platforms.

As more brands place QR codes at the center of their 2023 campaigns, here are five campaigns worth watching.

1. PepsiCo.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, PepsiCo. is releasing limited-edition bottles with QR codes that give consumers access to Apple Music, as well as prizes like travel to Apple Music Live events, Beats By Dre headphones, and Pepsi branded merchandise. The decision to launch the QR code initiative during the summertime months was intentional. Pepsi executives say more people buy cold drinks during the summer than any other season, and by using QR codes to connect during this time period, the company has the greatest opportunity to increase sales.

2. Skkn by Kim

Kim Kardashian is known as a master marketer, and it should come as no surprise she’s relied heavily on QR codes to grow her skincare brand, Skkn by Kim. In a campaign run in partnership with Flowcode, Skkn by Kim rolled out 30-second ad spots on connected TV platforms like Hulu and YouTube, as well as linear TV cable networks, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and on out-of-home kiosks and digital displays. The Skkn by Kim ads feature QR codes facilitated by Flowcode, specifically designed to collect first-party data while remaining in compliance with privacy regulations in the U.S. and Europe. 

3. Rémy Martin

Rémy Martin found a creative new way to integrate QR codes into its recent campaign. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the company launched a mobile activation featuring large-scale street murals in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco. The street murals feature AR technology, with integrated QR codes that allow consumers to learn about important DJs and their impact on music. People who scan the QR codes also have the opportunity to win tickets to live concert events. As part of the same campaign, Rémy Martin released a limited-edition bottle equipped with a QR code that links to its tasting notes.

4. Planters

Planters is one of a number of CPG brands integrating QR codes into linear TV ad campaigns in 2023. For its Super Bowl LVII commercial on Fox, Planters included a QR code inviting viewers to watch a longer version of the commercial on Fox’s streaming platform Tubi. The QR code reportedly generated a 70% conversion rate for Planters, which means that when people saw the QR code and scanned it on their television screens, 70% took an additional action when they arrived at the landing page. Like Skkn by Kim, Planters worked with Flowcode on the campaign.

5. Elysian Brewing

Elysian Brewing latched on to NBCUniversal’s Chucky to promote a limited-edition beer, dubbed Chucky: A Killer Wit Beer. To get the word out about the company’s new release to Gen Z and millennial drinkers, Elysian launched out-of-home displays with a “Chucky QR code” at 200 stores. Fans that scanned the display saw Chucky in augmented reality appear on their mobile devices. The out-of-home campaign ran in conjunction with a social media blitz that relied heavily on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Untappd, a geosocial alcohol networking service. Like Pepsi, Elysian reportedly timed the campaign to run during the company’s busiest period of the year, when consumers are most likely to purchase beer and other alcohol products.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.