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Volkswagen uses 2D bar codes to make print ads more interactive

October 6, 2009

Volkswagens landing page

Volkswagen's landing page

Volkswagen, Bissell Homecare and Metro News are using 2D bar code technology to make their traditional printed media more interactive and engaging for consumers.

All three brands are using ScanLife technology, which converts a mobile phone’s camera into a bar code reader. Morgans Hotel Group and Sprint and are also using the technology to better engage and inform consumers.

“2D bar code technology provides brands with a quicker, easier method for consumers to interact with brands through the mobile device,” said Jonathan Bulkeley, CEO of ScanBuy, New York. “I expect that in three years most major brands will be using bar codes to interact with consumers.”

Volkswagen is using the technology to add interactivity to a brochure for the highly acclaimed 2010 GTI. 

The brochure is being distributed to all local dealerships and the codes link to videos and additional information.

Customers can access videos that demonstrate how the 2010 GTI maneuvers, a view of its interior, and game highlights of the D.C. United soccer team, which Volkswagen officially sponsors.

Consumers can also access the “Heritage Gallery” which is a series of pictures with captions that show how the VW GTI has evolved since it was first built in 1983.

Metro News in Canada is now using the technology to connect its daily newspaper directly to updated stories from its mobile Web site.  The paper is read by more than 1 million people every day across seven major cities in Canada.

The 2D codes are located in every major section of the Metro News and link readers to relevant and updated content on the Metro News mobile site.

Readers can also access additional content such as the answers to the Sudoku and Crossword puzzles and enter contests.

Bissell, floor-care innovator and maker of home-cleaning products, has placed EZcodes across an entire line of vacuum cleaners which are sold by retailers nationwide. 

The codes link to additional information on the product to help inform the shopper in the store.

Customers can access the User Guide and Warranty information by scanning the 2D bar code and have the option to explore the Product Selection Wizard, which enables customers to search for and purchase Bissell products that meet their needs and requirements.

Sprint has placed EZcodes in direct mail campaigns which are distributed to a large number of subscribers.

One such code links to a sweepstakes entry form to win Amazon’s Kindle 2, which includes a 3G high-speed data connection from Sprint.

Morgans Hotel Group is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with an integrated advertising campaign that includes a ScanLife 2D code in the form of a 25.

The link provides access to rich content including exclusive videos, insider benefits, special offers and a listing of the very best in food, bars, shopping, services and must-sees.

“Brands are looking for simple ways to interact with consumers through Mobile devices and 2D bar codes are a game changing way to improve those interactions,” Mr. Bulkeley said.

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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