ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Target implements QR codes in print ads to engage readers

Retail giant Target is the latest in a string of brands turning to mobile bar codes to help provide customers with a more interactive experience by embedding them in advertisements within national publications.

When readers come across one of the bar code-embedded ads in a magazine, they can use ScanLife to take a picture of the QR code, which then links the user to a video of stylist expert Sabrina Soto. In the clips, Ms. Soto demonstrates how Target furnishings and products can liven up home décor.

?By including mobile bar codes in print advertising, a smaller area of advertising inventory space is utilized, allowing brands to pack more information in and gain better value for their advertising initiatives,? said Laura Marriott, Denver-based CEO  of NeoMedia Technologies, Inc.

Ms. Marriott?a bar code expert?said that the use of codes by retailers such as Target is a way to activate the brand for a consumer. NeoMedia did not power this initiative for Target.

Mobile Commerce Daily named Target the Mobile Retailer of the Year for 2010, for its use of the mobile medium to support both stores and online, as well as its focus on customer experience.

Scanbuy, a global provider of bar codes, is powering the QR codes for Target.

Inside the home
Target?s new ads are designed to appeal to the type of customer who is looking for tips and tricks to make a living room appear more inviting, or a kitchen look more modern.

Target's QR codes will be found in print ads like this one.

HGTV designer Sabrina Soto is Target?s home style expert, and she uses the clips to explain how shoppers can implement pieces of the store?s exclusive home collection into their own apartments or houses.

In one of the 60-second videos, Ms. Soto makes her way through the living room of a home as she talks about her current favorite trend?the blue and white color scheme. She demonstrates how to work the trend into accent pieces, utilizing prints and bold shades for pillows and lamps.

Currently there are two different ads featuring the QR codes, which can be found in national magazines that cater to home design, such as Martha Stewart Living and House Beautiful.

A future of bar codes
?Mobile bar codes are irrevocably changing the print advertising landscape for the better,? Ms. Marriott said. ?By activating print ads, firms can now make them more engaging, immersive and interactive anytime and anywhere the consumer chooses to engage.?

When mobile bar codes are scanned, the user?s information proffers the opportunity for the brand to run a more targeted campaign, based on his or her demographic data and preferences.

?The analytics which are available to advertisers as a result of mobile bar code-enabled campaign scans also enable them to measure statistics around the consumer?s interaction with the product and/or advertisement such as: time of day, location, duration of interaction and so on,? Ms. Marriott said.

In addition to ads, retailers can use mobile bar codes to link to product information, availability, reviews and ratings, hopefully to influence users to make their way to check-out and in turn, spike sales.

?Mobile bar codes provide a very efficient means for retailers to activate their products in-store, whether at shelf, on pack, or at point of sale," Ms. Marriott said.

Final Take