QR Codes Return in Force to Help Brands Deliver Touchless Engagement – Event Marketer

QR Codes Return in Force to Help Brands Deliver Touchless Engagement – Event Marketer
hbo-max-on-location-family gathers around oversized purple pin

QR Codes Return in Force to Help Brands Deliver Touchless Engagement

QR codes are having a moment again. The simple-to-generate, touchless matrix barcodes have become the darling of many businesses during the pandemic, like restaurants where patrons can access the evening’s menu from their devices rather than share (the virus, potentially) with other patrons. But the codes have been popping up frequently again in events, unlocking engagements and directing consumers to key content.

From apps to browser extensions, anyone can create a QR code, and there are a variety of actions that the code can lead users to engage in, such as a microsite, a download, a survey, registration portal, or connecting to a hot spot, among them. Here are five ways to leverage the “simple scan” in your COVID-era experiences.

fatherly-playroom-teaserMore QR Code Strategies:


“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is activating in cities across the country, immersing attendees in 30,000 square feet of projection-mapped walls featuring the artist’s most famous and color-rich masterpieces. The all-digital and handsfree exhibit offers interactive, painting-inspired photo moments and new interpretations of Van Gogh’s work. In one of the rooms, attendees are invited to choose a partially filled in painting template, pull up a chair to a table and begin coloring in the rest to their liking. When finished, a staff member takes the “masterpiece” and, with the help of a QR code on the drawing, projects it onto a large screen alongside other drawings for all to see. (Agencies: Running Subway, New York City, production; Exhibition Hub, curation; Barco, 4K visuals; DiGennaro Communications, p.r.)



QR codes were the main access point for consumers who came across one of 20 HBO Max-branded purple kiosks through New York City in June, which promoted the brand’s vast content catalogue by spotlighting some of the most iconic moments in movies and television filmed in the city with a “self-guided” tour. The big purple installations with a 10-foot-tall branded location pin anchored beside them bared a QR code that consumers scanned to automatically trigger access to a clip or series on the spot. Consumers could view content filmed in that location and earn rewards from local businesses in doing so. Read our full report at eventmarketer.com. (Agency: Civic Entertainment Group)



Skittles marked the return of its Pride Packs during Pride Month, which feature gray packaging and candies because “during Pride, only one rainbow matters,” with a QueeR Codes campaign that shined a light on LGBTQ+ artists, influencers and creators. The Mars Wrigley brand enlisted four LGBTQ+ artists to create murals in Newark, NJ, where the company’s headquarters is located, as well as Nashville, Atlanta and San Antonio. On display throughout June, each artwork featured a QueeR Code—a QR code that, when scanned, took consumers to SKITTLESQueeRCodes.com for content and resources. (Agency: ICF Next)



OGX introduced three new haircare collections for women by taking over a 1907 car wash in Los Angeles and inviting influencers, press, general consumers and passersby to experience a colorful, love-themed launch event ahead of Valentine’s Day. QR codes fueled the experience. At entry, signage containing a QR code directed attendees to download an OGX Carwash playlist featuring love-themed tracks that participants could enjoy inside their vehicles during the experience. At the end of the car wash, attendees posed for an in-car photo, which they could access through a QR code included in their caddy. (Agency: MKG, Los Angeles)



Let’s take a quick journey back to 2015, when Air Wick activated a “Home is in the Air pop-up at the Mall of America, a personalized experience that used QR codes to track preferences about its newest, changing scent product Life Scents back then. Once registered, visitors used the QR code to create a personal profile based on their preferences and the tips they saved as they progressed through the space. Afterwards, they received an email with a personal URL with their preferences. The QR codes allowed for seamless integration on social channels where guests were encouraged to share via Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter via #homeisintheair. (Agency: Havas Impact)

This story appeared in the September 2021 issue
Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the magazine's executive editor. Her travels covering the experiential marketing in dustry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
View all articles by Rachel Boucher →

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