Who’d have thought the QR code would be the New Normal?


By Rob Scott, Creative Director, TLC

I recently revisited a planning piece from BBH, published at the height of the pandemic called Clumsy Human. It predicted three post-pandemic personality types: fearful, cautious, and raging.

As I look around, I’m not sure whether their prophecy was entirely true but certainly in the world of SP some things have changed.

Judging this year’s IPM awards with my esteemed colleagues in the Shopper Activation category we discussed the comeback of the humble QR code – surely one of the winners from the pandemic?  Led partly by a need for less physical contact with packaging and the improvement of native tech within phones this dotty square enables us to find out more info instantly at the tap of a screen and allows us to de-clutter communication whilst at the same time stopping any risk of contamination.

Much maligned by creatives (I remember clearly hating putting them anywhere) now I’m advising clients to put them everywhere – although I’m struggling with radio.

If the QR code has made a resurgence what about other areas that haven’t fared as welll?

From recent experience I fear for good old point of sale – as supermarkets try to keep their aisles ‘clean’ our disruptive branded displays, are becoming harder to site – dare I say it I even miss designing wobblers – my favourite ever for Lipton Iced Tea had the headline “It doesn’t wobble if you nod”.

And what if the pack flashed itself? With more habitual buying online the opportunity to stand out and force an impulse purchase is reduced. Promotional packs are seldom featured so catching consumers eyes must be left to other means.

This need to be on the shopping list earlier in the customer journey is good news for SP agencies with strong creative departments.

If used correctly online, social, OOH and radio can plant a seed in consumers’ minds (and hearts) and still influence purchase – all without resorting to on-pack starbursts and screamers.

And for us creatives it means the new normal leads us back to an old belief – what promotions need now is what they’ve always needed – an idea that sticks in the mind.