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. 

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