Mobio’s research showed that their codes on TV increased brand interaction by 25 percent. While this is a nice statistic, it’s hard to determine how accurate the study really is across the entire mobile space. It is true that most all of us have our phones with us while watching TV and many of us are interacting with them while we’re watching. So it’s not too far off to expect QR codes to be scanned while watching TV. The codes still have a novelty about them and if the content is right, the stage is set with plenty of time to find your scanner app, it might just be worth it.
Shows are using DVD boxes (Jackass 3 and Jersey Shore Season Three Uncensored) and social media sites to put up mobile bacodes, like Archer, that link to special videos or downloadable wallpaper. However, we’re going to be talking about barcodes on the actual television screen. While there are some duds out there, of course, there are some smart uses and innovative marketing ploys, too.
To start with, an epic #fail. Waitrose is an online grocery store in the U.K. Although the BBC is a leading innovator in technology use in its shows, it cannot impart its wisdom on the advertisers. Waitrose showed a QR code for about 2 seconds towards the end of their ad. Personally, I cannot get to my scanning apps in 2 seconds, much less hold the phone up and get it to scan. It’s also going to take more than a QR code for me to bother to DVR an advertisement, rewind, play, pause and fast forward to catch up.
The Weather Channel took a different approach to download their app. They actually give you a heads up to get ready to scan, do a countdown, then hold it for about 8 seconds. After posting the QR code on the screen, they saw a 20 percent increase in downloads.
Going back to QR Codes in ads for a moment, they can be a great way to extend the commercial. Axa is a great example of this by letting the user step into the ad. They continuously push the borders with the use of mobile in advertising. They were the first to launch an app in Belgium and developed the first iAd used in newspapers and magazines. Not only does the scan extend the commercial, but brings interaction and focus to their video versus whatever came on after the commercial.
Bluefly, an online retail web site that sells designer clothes at discount prices, did a QR code campaign on Bravo titled Closet Confessions. These spots used celebrities showing their personal closets. The advertisement showed a QR code while telling users to take a picture to either receive a coupon at Bluefly or see the full five-minute Closet Confessions ad. According to Bluefly’s CMO, shopping orders increase an average of 50 percent.
Now for a use that I think is brilliant and just makes sense. Have you ever watched a cooking show or cooking segment on your local station and wished you would have written the ingredients down? Or maybe you did write them down but they didn’t tell you how much or for how long to cook it at what temperature? The BBC show The Good Cook makes it easy for viewers to get the recipes on their mobile device. Genius! If you wanted to take the recipe landing page to the next level, be sure to add social to share with their friends what they’re making and a YouTube video of it being prepared.
Moving horizontally, it makes sense to me, along the same lines, to do the same thing to DIY shows. Step-by-step home improvement instructions and videos would be a gold mine and keep viewers coming back to learn more and do more. Get Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. to sponsor it and link the products to their site to purchase or get more info.
Shows like Lone Star in the U.S. and Big Brother in the U.K. are using QR codes to provide exclusive and “secret” video content you cannot get anywhere else. While this is nice and I’m sure gets some nice interaction, a more impressive attempt at interaction and involvement came from Switched at Birth’s use of Microsoft Tags.
ABC Family utilized an online scavenger hunt using Microsoft Tag. The game provided clues to the character’s art, which was a series of Tags. Once they were found, contestants scanned them getting exclusive content in return. Ten clues were discovered over five days and each on a different web site. Under each stencil were two letters that the contestants needed to collect. After getting all 20, they had to combine them in the correct order to get the secret password. If you were the first fan to do so, $4,000 was yours. A great way to create buzz and anticipation for your show’s next season.
While Jon Stewart had fun with CNN’s use of QR codes during the debate, if used correctly, mobile barcodes could be an interaction gold mine or just a gold mine. What if VH-1/MTV put QR codes on videos that linked to the iTunes store for purchase? Or used QR codes to link to next week’s show spoilers? Maybe a QR code links to outtakes from the latest Psych episode. Or maybe it’s exclusive content like “see what the text said” or “listen to the voice mail.”
Newscasts could use them for an easy way to send the viewer to the web for more details.
QR codes could be a good way for me to look up the stats on a football player or see how a batter has done against righties or the guy that’s on mound. It could be a link at the end of the game that allows me to see the post-game interviews of players and coaches.
Mobile barcodes don’t make sense everywhere, and people have to remember that this is still, relatively new to the general public so education and instruction are necessary. However, mobile barcodes can enhance the viewing pleasure of both TV shows and ads.
Have you seen other good uses of mobile barcodes on television?
The BBC is using an animated QR code as a teaser to their upcoming show The Fades. Nice work and it scans fine through YouTube on my phone but I don’t know how well it works on the television but it’s definitely well-done and a great concept. Enjoy.