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QR, NFC or Bluetooth: a technology guide for your next IoT or connected experiences campaign

By Jenny Stanley | Managing director

Appetite Creative


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December 22, 2021 | 6 min read

If you're looking to connect with your audiences, support, educate and to learn more about them, then connected packaging/experiences are the best way to do that. Technologies such as QR, NFC and Bluetooth allow brands to turn their products, packaging, the retail space into marketing channels. Each technology is optimised for different use cases and each has its strengths and weaknesses. In the following, each technology will be examined and compared with the other.

Appetite Creative dive deep into new tech innovations and explain when each should be used for varying results.

Appetite Creative dive deep into new tech innovations and explain when each should be used for varying results.

Connected Experiences/Packaging campaigns can be activated in a variety of ways. Probably the best known are via QR codes and NFC tags technologies, while Bluetooth tags supported Internet of Things (IoT) is in the coming. Even though they can perform similar tasks, it is important to know their differences. The following article should give you a good overview of the technologies, so that you can make an informed decision.

QR codes

QR stands for Quick Response, as the codes can be scanned at high speed from any angle with a phone. QR codes store small strings of information, in most cases a URL, and have become a common way to access web content. Due to the pandemic and the growing urge to access content such as restaurant menus as contactless as possible, the QR code has continued to grow in popularity.

When to use QR codes

Given that QR codes are printed, their best use is on signage, packaging, and labels. Product packaging can use a simple QR code to provide recommendations and product information or entire experiences, as through AR, to ensure customers understand the value of the product they are holding and become more deeply connected to the brand.

A great example of an IoT campaign using QR codes is that of KDD, a leading manufacturer of food and beverages. In order to interact with the school children after the lockdown, they worked with us at Appetite Creative to develop a campaign that included a series of games and AR technology. The QR codes were scanned 191,000 times in the short period of three months delivered an average of three min engagement time. Find out more about the campaign here.

NFC Tags

NFC (Near Field Communication) tags are designed to transmit short pieces of information to an interacting phone. No special application is needed, nor is it necessary to open the phone's camera. When smartphones are in the range of the tags (up to 20cm), they automatically receive a notification that allows the user to perform the desired action. NFC tags are usually used in the shape of. The strength of NFCs lies in their simplicity. Nearly all devices with Apple iOS, Android, Microsoft, and Blackberry operating systems are now NFC-compatible.

When to use NFC tags

NFC technology is most effective when integrated into consumer products. This authentic connection can be used throughout the customer journey, from pre-purchase to post-purchase.

Post-purchase, brands can offer value-added content to their customers to get the most out of their purchases. Finally, brands can use this new stream of customer information to inform future product decisions.

A great example of NFC campaigns are those where NFC tags are sewn into consumer goods like clothes. Consumers can use the tags to confirm that the product is original and not fake, as well as to get outfit guides and directly order more products.

Bluetooth tags

Bluetooth became standard for the transmission of data between fixed and mobile electronic devices over short distances. It is compatible with almost any device and has ranges from 10 to 100 metres. Tags that use Bluetooth technology can also be attached to any product have a wide range of functions.

When to use Bluetooth tags

Bluetooth tags provide an excellent asset for IoT networks, as they are particularly useful when the status of products (temperature, humidity, location) should be available at any time and manufacturers want to convert their supply chain completely to a demand chain.

Great examples of Bluetooth tag technologies are those that use the technology not only to optimise their demand chain, but also to interact directly with consumers through the Bluetooth tags and create a unique experience for them to increase the engagement with the brand.


As outlined in the previous chapters, the choice of the right technology depends very much on the objectives of the campaign, as well as the products. However, regardless of the technology.

At Appetite Creative, we are experts in adding digital interactivity to objects. For this, we have developed our own platform that displays the KPI's of your campaign in real-time in a dashboard and whose analysis results will become the basis of your business decisions.

Jenny Stanley, managing director at Appetite Creative

Marketing Technology Marketing Services

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