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QR Code Marketing

by Jenny Stanley

February 2, 2021

QR is an abbreviation for (quick response) - using scannable barcodes that when used direct the user to a designated landing page.

QR code usage: Then vs Now

QR codes gained popularity in 2011 when American Department store Macy’s and Best Buy started putting them into practice within their stores. However, there were ample problems with a great deal of end-user adoption.

These included slow speed internet, some consumers did not even own smartphones and when they did, they had trouble scanning QR codes. Even the websites the users were redirected to weren’t optimized for mobiles thus accumulating to the set of issues.

All of this has now taken a turn for the best. QR codes are now widespread with over 2.71 billion people using smartphones in 2019. It has been anticipated that 90% of the world is estimated to have access to high-speed internet by the end of 2020.

Who uses QR Codes?

Market and consumer data Statista has estimated that 11 million households will scan a QR Code in 2020. The commencement of the CoronaVirus pandemic has catalysed the usage of QR Codes, not just because of its versatility and ease of use but also because it is both safe and hygienic. All while helping marketers and businesses track campaigns without having to invest too much money.

Additionally, nowadays smartphones have built-in and native QR code scanning. Unlike back in the day when users needed to install 3rd party apps which resulted in little recourse of the technology. Now, most smartphones support native-QR Code scanning helping most industry verticals to launch their businesses, owing to its popularity.

QR codes and it’s proximity to modern marketing

With these new advancements for QR code scanning on mobile, marketers and brands are becoming more interested in the idea of running proximity marketing campaigns without 3rd party apps that turn to QR codes.

Brands are now able to curate an exceptional shopping experience thus helping them attract and engage more with customers. And most importantly, QR codes have opened a mountain of possibilities for businesses to take advantage of.

This includes redirecting customers to social media pages or leaving feedback and reviews. There is no course of action that a store can’t gently action its customers towards.

Related: Top 5 tips for Brands in 2020

Reasons to use QR codes

Scanning QR codes has become second nature for consumers

The popularity of QR codes can also be attributed to increased consumer awareness. Social media platforms have all deployed QR codes that allow users to follow accounts via scanning these codes.

QR codes on packaging that are crucial in 2020

The Paper Worker found that one-third of consumer decision-making is merely reliant on the product’s packaging. Therefore, creating packaging that is appealing is even harder when you take into account millennials preference towards aesthetically pleasing and minimalistic design.

QR codes are the answer to this struggle!

QR codes breathe new life into traditional marketing

Digital marketing gained traction for one very important reason: Tracking performance metrics.

Something that was challenging with traditional forms of marketing. With QR codes, marketers can finally understand how marketing campaigns are performing based on the number of scans.

QR Codes can be used to deliver an AR experience

Puma launched its LQD CELL Origin AR shoes. These shoes are practically covered in QR codes. And when scanned via the Puma app, you can notice impressive effects. You can make your LQD CELL explode, play games within the app and score point to get on the leaderboard.

QR Codes are being implemented for shoppable marketing campaigns

Burger King

Additionally with QR Codes gaining mass popularity, major brands are looking to include them into their marketing campaigns to curate their audience for engaging shoppable advertisements. Burger King’s TV commercial advertising campaign during the pandemic included QR Codes.

QR Code marketing ideas that businesses can use

- Increasing conversion by designing a QR code game

- Delivering a truly musical experience through QR codes

- Getting users to leave product reviews

- Use QR codes as an entry ticket & to deliver information regarding events- Redirect customers to social media pages

- As contactless menus for restaurants.

- Add an event to the calendar along with a reminder

Armed with all these ideas, businesses can now implement and cater to their own unique uses and customers.

Some interesting examples

Pepsi Co

Our challenge was to come up with a more creative and innovative way for them to handle their recruitment process. We wanted to help PepsiCo achieve the goal of getting a more diverse and innovative creative thinking audience.

As a solution, we designed around ten PepsiCo brands (Pepsi, Doritos, Ruffles, Cheetos, Tropicana, Quaker, Gatorade, Naked, 7UP, Walkers, and Lays). W deployed QR codes as a way to access our gamified experience to set both the company and the candidates apart. While doing so, we wanted to keep the core values alive.


Living in the digital age, where commerce is heavily done online, we needed to find the sweet spot for the best solution to bring customers to the Vodafone stores. To draw attention we combined both digital and outdoor strategies by sending invitations both online and offline, directing the audience to the stores to be involved in the latest treasure hunt near them. Once users got to one store, they needed to scan themselves in at which point the clock started ticking. Users needed to then race around the shopping centre to find the 4 clues. The fastest one back won a fantastic brand new iPhone X.

How relevant are QR codes going to be in 2021?

Similar to NFC, the market for QR codes is progressing. But, that doesn't mean marketers and businesses can simply just deploy QR code. The site or content must also be optimized for mobile usage.

QR codes also let marketers the ability to track impressions giving a chance to tailor their marketing strategies.

The market is also slowly starting to implement dynamic QR codes that can be recycled as the redirect URL or specific action can be changed according to the businesses’ needs.

Millennials are constantly staying up-to-date with the latest technologies. Whether it is interacting or accessing curated content online, they are always searching for the next big thing. They, in fact, use QR Codes a lot more than any other generation.

Some of the ways millennials use QR Codes are –

- Facebook Messenger Codes and Market QR Codes

- Snapchat's snap-codes

- Instagram’s Name Tags

- Contactless Payment Systems

- Games

Here are a number of ways to promote QR Codes

- Include a QR Code at the end of the email signature.

- Use QR Codes to educate your customers by encouraging them to scan it and watch know-how videos or engaging them in fun games.

- Embed QR Codes on your physical and online advertising material.

- Stick QR Codes on all the products you sell.

- Include QR Codes on signages, tables, and any kind of outdoor areas that can grab the customers’ attention.

Do QR Codes expire?

In the case of dynamic QR Codes, they expire post the free trial period is over, or when the number of scans has exceeded your limit. Static QR Codes expire if they are linked to a broken URL.

Want to run marketing campaigns with QR Codes? Get in touch with us to help build your use-case.


Digital Marketing
QR Codes
Digital Media
QR code