Corporate Eye

Brands Create Unique Print Ads with QR Codes

Quick response codes (QR codes) are hot these days and brands are doing some really creative things with them in an effort to discover how best to use the technology to drive buzz and sales. Open a magazine, and you’re likely to find many ads with QR codes in them. However, simply displaying a QR code isn’t always enough to motivate people to use it. There needs to be a hook to move people to action.

Metrokane manufactures household products, including wine accessories. In an effort to creatively demonstrate how some of those wine products work, the company created a campaign that used strategically placed print ads, QR codes, and mobile apps.

Check it out in the three ad samples below. Each ad includes a message that says, “Scan the code and place your phone within the dotted area.” Instantly, there is sense of curiosity. When people do scan the code and place their phones in the dotted area in each ad, they’re rewarded with a demonstration of the product in action.

Clever copy taps into an emotional trigger that wine drinkers are likely to relate to. For example, the Upright Rabbit cork remover ad says, “Simple stopper. Aggravation dislodger.” The Electric Rabbit cork remover ad says, “Automatic cork/frustration remover.” Anyone who has ever struggled to remove a cork from a bottle of wine will relate to these messages!

Click each image to view a larger version with legible copy via Ads of the World.

Overall, this is a great example of how to use QR codes within offline media — no website required! The lesson to learn from the Metrokane ad campaign example is simple. Instead of just using QR codes to send consumers to your website or Facebook Page, think about how you can use them to enable your brand to interact with consumers within the media experience they’re already having — instantly.

What do you think of the Metrokane print ad campaign? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.