You know those funny-looking graphic squares — the ones that appear to be a cross between a bar code and a complicated maze? Those ubiquitous QR codes (short for Quick Response) are popping up just about everywhere these days — on print and television ads, on outdoor billboards, in store windows, and on product packaging.
The appeal is simple: QR codes can embed text, URLs and other data that can be decoded by a camera phone with the appropriate software. Basically, when consumers point an enabled phone at a QR code, they get taken to a special offer, a promotional website, or some other relevant information.
While QR code usage is widespread in Japan, where it was invented, the concept is still gaining traction in the US. But as smartphones proliferate, product marketers like the 99-year old Sun-Maid brand are leveraging the new technology in the hopes of gaining a competitive edge.
In a promotional tie-in with Dreamworks' animated movie Kung Fu Panda 2, which debuts May 26, Sun-Maid is plastering its canisters and six-packs of raisins with the QR code at right, which take consumers to a mobile website where they can enter a contest to potentially win the grand prize — a trip for four to Zoo Atlanta.
Naturally, the top winners will get VIP treatment at the Giant Panda center at the zoo. The company will also give out Kung Fu Panda 2 toys to 100 other sweepstakes winners.
Rick Bruno, VP of brand management for Sun-Maid, tells MarketingDaily, "By keeping the promotion entry simply and easily accessible by mobile devices, we anticipate a lot of entries and overall site activity." In addition to the sweepstakes, the mobile site will include movie trailers, computer wallpaper, and other features. Sun-Maid is pitching the QR code and the contest on its Facebook page as well.
Sun-Maid raisins are a favorite of kids, so the Kung Fu Panda 2 cross-promotion is a natural tie-in. Last year, Sun-Maid ran a promotional tie-in with another DreamWorks Animation character, Shrek. The company offered a product rebate with a combined purchase of Sun-Maid raisins and a DVD of one of the Shrek movies.
This year, Sun-Maid is upping the ante, since no purchase is necessary to enter the sweepstakes. Will the QR code plump up Sun-Maid's Panda promotion — or will it shrivel on the vine?