Zappos Pre-Announces use of QR Codes

The other day, Zappos, the online retailer, announced via a New York Times article that a new multi-channel advertising campaign will be launched in the next few weeks and, when it does, QR Codes will be featured in their magazine print ads.

The premise behind the campaign is to promote the fact that Zappos is much more than shoes and should be considered by women for all of the clothing and accessory items that the company now offers and sells, across price points, brands, designer labels, etc. The creative of the campaign (see example below) is centered around “naked” women doing everyday activities and how Zappos can serve to outfit them.

When the QR Codes are scanned, readers of the ads will be linked to a mobile site, which features fictional videos of what happens to the naked women in the ads. Readers will also be able to select outfits for the model to wear and can enter the Zappos mobile site to buy the items that appear in the ads and on the mobile site.

In reading about the campaign, it seems as though, from the very beginning, a great deal of thought has been put into how the QR Codes will work and the purpose they will serve. By no means does it appear as though the placement of QR Codes has been an afterthought. This is the way campaigns, which make use of 2D technology, should be designed.

Will this campaign be successful with respect to the use of codes?Obviously it’s too early to tell but, what I can tell you, the company and its agency have made use of a 2D barcode best practice that I often preach about and that is public relations.

Before and after a 2D barcode-based campaign is launched, rarely, if ever, do we see a corporate press release or some form of announcement stating the fact. Why is this? If a company is the first in its industry to make use of 2D, why not draft a statement and proactively use it for promotional purposes? The same if a company has a new and clever campaign that incorporates 2D, just as Zappos is doing. Public relations, when done correctly, can serve to enhance an ongoing or soon-to-be launched 2D campaign, and work to power the social media/networking engine that is so vital to spreading the word and driving sales and/or brand awareness. All of which are positives for a company, and can often be accomplished at no or little cost.

Stay tuned for an update next month once the print ads hit the newsstands.

(Thank you, Eric W.)


2 thoughts on “Zappos Pre-Announces use of QR Codes

  1. What's fascinating about this campaign (hopefully we won't be disappointed) is that this is one of the first campaigns in over a year to pursue the “beginning, middle and end” cohesive “story” approach to a print/mobile campaign.

    It's a cohesive effort.

    The story starts in print (set up).

    The transition is through the Code.

    The conclusion (and surprise ending) is on mobile (the pay off).

    It uses what was once the greatest attraction of a QR code: The prospect that it would transport you to someplace really interesting and maybe even a bit mysterious.

    When campaigns engage the User in a storied structure, they tend to win. OK, using naked bodies is about as basic as it gets to attract eyeballs. But, if that's what it takes to demonstrate how a print/mobile campaign can succeed, so be it.

    Seeing an entertaining approach used with QR is refreshing.

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