Middle Tennessee Medical Center's advertising campaign promoting the opening of its new facility looks like a traditional effort. The print ads feature a photo of the hospital building and a little blurb about the organization's specialties. But in the bottom right corner of the ad, there is a small square box containing a scramble of black and white shapes. Though it may look out of place, this QR code—a two-dimensional bar code—can enhance consumers' experiences with traditional advertising.
The Murfreesboro, TN, hospital worked with Nashville-based agency D S Tombras to create the campaign and "implemented a QR code strategy to extend the "Built Around You" campaign message beyond traditional print," says Steve Castle, vice president for D S Tombras.
A QR, or "Quick Response," code is a matrix barcode that can be read by QR scanners, which can now be downloaded as applications to many smartphones. A phone with the app can use its camera to scan the code and then direct the internet browser to the webpage the code is linked to. The growing trend of including QR codes in advertising is relatively new to the United States, but has been prevalent in parts of Asia.
"When the ad featuring the QR code for the new Middle Tennessee Medical Center is scanned it directs people to the new mobile site BuiltAroundYou.org," Castle says. "Once on the site, visitors are able view the new TV campaign and further experience the features of the new Middle Tennessee Medical Center."
Marketers plan to run the campaign for twelve months and use ads with QR codes in newspaper, magazine, and other print outlets throughout middle Tennessee. The QR codes are also included on internal signage in lobbies, elevators and similar locations providing additional touch points for the organization's branding.