Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Watch Out for the QR Invasion!

If you are curious about the rise in QR codes and their use in marketing efforts, check out this infographic from JumpScan. In order to get the most benefit from QR codes, it is essential for marketers to understand exactly who is scanning them and what tools they are using. 

P.S. Every QR code in this infographic can be scanned for more information! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

QR Code Appears in Colbert's "Friday" Performance

On April Fools' Day, Stephen Colbert teamed up with Jimmy Fallon  to perform  a rendition of Rebecca Black's song "Friday" on Fallon's late night show. Taylor Hicks, past American Idol winner, also joined Colbert and Fallon for the over-the-top performance. The whole shenanigan originated from a friendly fundraising feud between Colbert and Fallon. The performance was a reward to Fallon's viewers for donating money to  Viewers of the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" show surpassed expectations by donating more than $86,000 to the charity which assists classrooms in need. So, as promised, Colbert delivered a live performance of "Friday".

Did you notice the guy in the back holding up a big Quick Response (QR) code? QR codes have become more and more prevalent in print advertising and in-store displays, but their use on live television broadcasts is relatively new. The QR code during this performance on the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" show led viewers to a video of Fallon thanking people for donating. In that video, Fallon held up another QR code which led to a separate video where Fallon displays the contents of his desk drawers. That video featured yet another QR code guiding viewers to a third video where Fallon discusses upcoming content for the show. 

While this may seem like a waste of energy to some, I think that it is a creative use of the QR code. Each time someone scans one of the codes, they arrive on the "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" website which is embedded in the NBC Universal website. Once on the site, it's likely that viewers will explore the site content beyond the short QR code videos, a feat which marketers are constantly trying new ways to accomplish. However, Fallon could have maximized the benefit from these QR codes by providing more valuable content in the bonus videos. Rather than fluff, Fallon could have offered up behind-the-scenes clips of that night's show or a bonus skit with Colbert. Viewers who were unimpressed by the special QR code video are unlikely to scan future QR codes used on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". On the flip side, viewers who found value in the QR code content are more likely to share the link with their social networks and scan future codes. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

OK Go: Masters of Viral Videos

As Internet marketing becomes more widespread, marketing professionals obsess over creating Web content that goes 'viral'. Unfortunately, marketers have little control over whether or not their content spreads like wildfire throughout the Internet, thus earning the honor of being referred to as viral. Consumers yield the power to turn content that is tucked away in a little corner of the Internet into the 'next big thing.' The two simplest ways to make sure content is pre-disposed to going viral is to create content that is entertaining or valuable to consumers. The band OK Go has mastered the art of creating entertaining music videos that quickly reach the viral status. 

OK Go, a funky power pop quartet formed in 1998, remained relatively unknown until 2005. During that year, the band created a low-budget music video for their song "A Million Ways." They filmed themselves in the backyard of a band member performing a choreographed dance to the song and sent the video out to some friends. Within a few months, both the video and OK Go became Internet sensations. 

In 2006, the band released yet another creative low-budget music video featuring the song "Here It Goes Again."  For this video, the band performs a complex dance on treadmills. With more than 5 million views, the music video for "Here It Goes Again" help catapult OK Go into the national spotlight. The viral video even earned the band a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video in 2007.

OK Go continues to generate viral music videos. I've included the videos for both "A Million Ways"  and "Here It Goes Again" , but you can see all of the band's music videos on their website. By creating entertaining and unique content, OK Go created a name for themselves on a tight budget via the Internet and viral videos. Their success with viral videos should be provide a clue to marketers in every industry that great content can go a long way. To paraphrase a famous quote from"The Field of Dreams", "If you create interesting and entertaining content, Internet users will spread it."