In the continuing march toward marketing on every available surface on the planet, Porsche has teamed up with several airlines to print 2-D barcodes on the back of plane tickets. Passengers who scan those codes will be presented with a bevy of promotional information on Porsche.
Unique idea… in theory. But will passengers ever scan those codes? Recent data on the popularity of QR codes says no.
The gist of Porsche's campaign, from Direct Marketing News:
"After consumers scan the 2-D barcodes via their mobile devices, they will be directed to either a customized landing page promoting the Porsche models or to a video featuring the cars, said Josh Cherfoli, online and relationship marketing manager at Porsche Cars North America… Porsche will also enable consumers to request a test drive at a local Porsche dealer via the 2-D barcodes."
Smartly recognizing that a Porsche ad on the back of your economy-class steerage ticket might be more insulting than beneficial, Porsche marketers say that these efforts will target first-class, business-class and luxury vacation travelers.
Porsche has experimented with QR codes before. At promotional events and at dealerships, Porsche employs QR codes. And in a print magazine campaign earlier this year, a QR code drove to a video advertising the Porsche's electric concept vehicles. Just how these Porsche QR codes work:
The airline ticket campaign faces a number of hurdles, both logical and strategic.
The obvious first problem: how many people closely look at their boarding passes? Porsche is hoping to tackle this challenge, in part, with banner ads served against online check-in pages.
Ideally, Porsche would cut some kind of agreement with the airlines, which would in turn instruct their check-in personnel to mention the promotion. But that's risky and puts the airlines themselves at risk of diluting their brands by coming across as shills. (This is supposed to be luxury after all.)
The larger problem, faced not just by Porsche, is that while marketers are thrilled about QR codes, consumers are not.
Recent research from ComScore reported that only 6.2 percent of mobile users ever engage with QR codes.
The silver lining in the ComcScore data for Porsche is that the study, conducted in June, found that those who did use QR codes were "more likely to be male (60.5 percent of code scanning audience), skew toward ages 18-34 (53.4 percent) and have a household income of $100k or above (36.1 percent)." That looks a lot like a Porsche demographic sweet spot. (Still, do those people fly first class?)
The not-so-good news for the QR platform as a whole is that not only is the whole QR code process cumbersome and time consuming, but also that some marketing analysts predict the whole shebang will soon be replaced by NFC — the "near field communication" technology being championed by Google.
Porsche photo via Flickr.