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Sonic opts for mobile bar codes to drive donations

October 15, 2012

Sonic is plastering QR codes on its packaging as part of a bigger campaign to encourage users to donate money towards school supplies and materials across the United States.

The initiative is part of Sonic’s Limeades for Learning campaign and includes mobile bar codes in more than 3,500 restaurants that are placed on cups. Scanlife is powering the Sonic campaign.

“Sonic recognizes the effectiveness of using mobile bar codes to power corporate giving initiatives and build relationships with their customers,” said Mike Wehrs, president/CEO of ScanLife, New York.

“The simplicity of scanning QR codes is a convenient, one-click experience for consumers to donate when they are engaged with the brand,” he said. “QR codes are driving more traffic to the mobile site than any other vehicle.”

Scan to give
The goal behind the Limeades for Learning campaign is to drive more than half a million dollars into projects for public school classrooms.

Sonic has partnered with for the fourth year on the initiative. claims that teachers collectively spend $1 billion out of their pockets on buying school supplies and learning materials for their classrooms every year.

During the five-week campaign, users can submit and vote for their favorite projects across the country. Sonic will then donate $100,000 on a weekly basis to the most-voted projects. Additionally, consumers are encouraged to contribute with their own donations.

To increase awareness of the program, Sonic has placed mobile bar codes on cups that lead users to the mobile site when scanned.

From there, consumers can learn about the specifics around individual projects and how it works.

Consumers can then search for their favorite projects across the country and donate to the cause.

The Sonic QR codes

End-to-end solution
In order to cast a vote, users need to type in their email address. If consumers want to donate to a cause, they are redirected to a page on that is not optimized for mobile.

Although it is a smart move to optimize the page that the QR code leads to, marketers need to optimize campaigns fully since mobile users hate to pinch-and-zoom.

Consumers can enter on a daily basis through October 29 for one vote per day. Additionally, users can enter codes that are printed on Sonic bags to submit two votes for each entry.

Once users have voted and donated, they can click to save a project as a favorite. Limeades for Learning will then send users an email at the end of the campaign if the cause that they voted for wins.

This is not the first mobile initiative from Sonic.

Last year, the company partnered with OLO Online Ordering on a test pilot to let consumers order meals from their handsets through a mobile site (see story).

The chain has also worked with Placecast on location-based campaigns (see story).

“We are continuing to work with several brands and organizations to power initiatives like this Sonic corporate giving campaign,” Mr. Wehrs said.

“We anticipate that these promotions will get more sophisticated by leveraging the metadata that can be processed in real time to deliver more targeted and relevant experiences,” he said. “Perhaps someone donates and then scans again to get rewarded in real time.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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