Thursday, July 29, 2010


My colleague Lynn sent around an interesting link yesterday. Apparently, Calvin Klein has revolutionized outdoor advertising by running a billboard in major US cities that is just one big QR code:

(Pic taken from Ottawa Citizen)

This 2-dimensional barcode, similar to the Mobio one we used on our iheartmom campaign, is read by camera phones (with the right apps) to unlock online content.

In the case of the Calvin Klein billboard, it was this "uncensored" content:

Not exactly shocking stuff, but I'm sure it will get people with the right technology to check it out. And in advertising, getting people to take the time to interact is everything these days.

As well, this mashup of two hot trends — QR and augmented reality (AR) — is newsworthy in itself. It doesn't matter if many of the people who view your ad don't have the time or hardware to view it properly. As viewers of Mad Men's new season opener are aware, innovation and guts in the marketplace generate its own PR rewards.


  1. A cute idea, but it seems like a short-term, winner-takes-all kind of thing -- the first company to do it gets a lot of attention because of the novelty, but after a few others imitate it, people stop caring.

  2. Exactly, David. And Calvin Klein is the winner in this case.

    Although there's been a lot of buzz about how disappointingly tame the video is, after all that trouble...

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