How Combining QR Codes and TV Can Elevate Your Marketing Strategy

Lilly Thuma Picture

by Lilly Thuma | Last Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Plain old TV ads are just not cutting it anymore to get consumers attention. In a world overrun by streaming, social media, and mobile devices loaded with games, why would you pay attention to commercials? Unless it’s the Super Bowl, then I’m glued to the commercials. We are not paying attention to old school TV ads like we used to, and brands need to find a new way to engage with consumers. This dilemma is how the concept of shoppable TV was born.

Shoppable TV

What is shoppable TV? It’s exactly what it sounds like: a way to shop for what is on your TV. How? Basically, brands can place a QR code for their website in the corner of the TV screen that will appear either when it relates to the program or when prompted by the program. NBC Universal (NBCU) and dpHue hair products are pioneering this method of advertisements in the show “Very Cavallari”. When the QR code appears, viewers will be prompted to point their phone camera at the QR code and will instantly be redirected to dpHue’s website where they can shop the products that Kristin Cavallari uses.

Now this all sounds super cool (Personally, I don’t know what’s better than shopping and watching TV), but you need to be careful when using QR codes so they aren’t intrusive. No one wants to be watching their favorite show and get distracted by a QR code flashing in the corner for five minutes. The QR code needs to discreetly appear and disappear in a way that doesn’t distract or annoy the viewer while still catching the viewer's attention. Also, make sure the brand matches what is on TV. You wouldn’t advertise a children’s clothing brand during an NFL game, but it would make sense to advertise Nike because it coincides with what the consumer is watching. NBC did a great job with this during the French Open by having a QR code that directed fans to the Lacoste website to buy the outfit Novak Djokovic was currently wearing. I don’t know how you can get more complementary than that!

Impact of the Second Screen

NBCU has proved the effectiveness of this QR code strategy (brands are seeing conversation rates 30 percent higher than typical eCommerce) because of how common it is to use a second screen while watching TV. I mean think about it, when is the last time you sat down and just watched TV without your phone anywhere near you? We have become so addicted to our mobile devices that just one screen is simply not enough anymore. This is a trend we are seeing across all ages. While the majority of second screen users are 18-24 (79 percent), it is still common for older generations to fall into this pattern as well. In fact, 68 percent of 24-34-year-olds and 60 percent of 35-49-year-olds report using a second screen when watching TV.

Second Screen Marketing Strategy 

There is a huge opportunity for brands to capitalize on the second screen phenomenon. Since consumers are viewing media in two ways at the same time, brands have the power to connect the media platforms and create a more powerful overall message. TV advertisements no longer have the same impact because of the constant distractions from mobile devices, but if a brand incorporates the consumers second screen into the campaign, brands can see up to 72 percent increase in website traffic. Some ways that brands can incorporate the second screen into their marketing strategy include:

With the consistent increase in mobile device usage, it is more important than ever that brands are incorporating a second screen marketing strategy into their campaigns. Whether you follow after “Very Cavallari” and dpHue, or take things to social media, you need to be engaging consumers on multiple platforms.

Digital Experiences Made Easy

What digital experiences do you want to create?