Idea Sprouts Online Marketing Blog

3 Examples of Marketing With QR Codes

Posted by Allison Semancik

This article is part 2 in a series of 3 articles about QR code marketing. In this article, I continue the critique of QR codes from various catalogs.

Besides seeing QR codes in magazine ads, you'll see them in many catalogs. They can be a great way to show more details about a product or share tips related to the product.

Let's take a look at what some popular catalogs are doing with QR codes. 

Bed Bath and Beyond:

BBB has been placing QR codes throughout the sales flyers that arrive in your mailbox. I usually notice them on products with a higher price point.  I think it's a great idea to give people the ability to learn more about the product and either buy it right from their phones or come in the store to buy it.

QR Code Marketing BBB

But the copy just isn't telling people enough. What will they get if they scan the code? A video? More text to read?  Remove the mystery so people know exactly what to expect. 

When I scanned the code, I was directed to a page that apparently had a video, but it wasn't showing on my Android phone. 

Tip: Make sure your content can be seen on all types of devices.


This is a great example of everything you shouldn't do with a QR code.

First off, what will you see if you scan the code? I'm guessing it's their online-only offers, but who knows? If you don't tell people what they'll get if they scan a code, they more than likely won't scan it. (Tweet this tip)

QR Code marketing Costco 2

Second, the code could not even be scanned with my QR code reader. It picked up some long number that my phone interpreted as a telephone number. When I looked online for, I found out that it is an AT&T QR code reader. With millions of people on other networks, this is a bad move for Costco.  As a Verizon user, I would have to go download this AT&T reader to use on my phone.  And I definitely wasn't going to take the time to do that.

It's like the equivalent of having a website that can only be viewed in Internet Explorer. You're excluding all the people who use Firefox, Chrome and Safari. 


This QR code is up there with the Perdue QR code for my favorite.  This QR code appeared in a fall catalog that arrived at my house.

I like that they are putting the QR codes in the Macy's star logo. It really stands out and your eye is drawn to it. And I like that in big letters it tells you to "Snap here!"

qr code marketing macys

What I didn't like is that the good stuff is hidden. If you read the paragraph below the code, you'll find out that you can enter to win a $500 shopping spree.  That should be front and center.  I don't know about you, but an offer to win a shopping spree always gets me to take action, so if it was easier to see, I would have scanned the code even faster. A better call to action would have been "Snap Here & Enter to Win!" 

Important point: the text on this lined background makes it difficult to read. Don't let design take precedence over usability.

When I did scan the code, I was taken to an easy to read page.  There were short informative videos I could watch with fashion and makeup tips as well as the entry for the shopping spree. (Side note: I won $10 when I entered!)

A brilliant addition on Macy's part: to enter the shopping spree, you only need to enter your cell phone number. And there is a check box to check off if you would like to opt in to receive text messages from Macy's about sales and offers.  A great way to build up an email list or cell phone number list.

Final Thoughts

After reviewing all of the QR codes, I'm pretty excited about the marketing campaigns businesses have the potential to create.  By avoiding the pitfalls and implementing the successes of others' marketing campaigns, you can successfully bridge print to online.

In the final article of this series, I'll wrap up with all the tips you'll need to launch a successful QR code marketing campaign.

Here are the other articles in this 3 part blog series on QR code marketing:

Part 1: QR Code Marketing: 5 Examples of What NOT to Do  

Part 3: 7 Rules for a Successful QR Code Marketing Campaign

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Topics: QR Code Marketing, QR Codes