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Super Bowl's first Animated QR code

Updated: Feb 15, 2022

WOW! Did you see that Coinbase animated QR code ad during the Super Bowl yesterday!!!? What a momentous event for the Animated QR code industry!

Let's take a few moments to think about what happened.


They nailed the simplicity: no on-screen words, no talking, just music and a pong-styled bouncing animated QR code. Insanely successful contrast from all the other Super Bowl ads which were trying to fit feature film length stories into 30 second slots.

Millions of people knew what to do, and they did it. They scanned without any custom app, just the standard camera on their cellphone.

Animation helped lure them in.

Lack of clutter helped lure them in; all the information to be conveyed would happen after the scan, not during the reach out.

They were lured in; each scan was a new potential customer choosing to get more information and to physically move to get it. This is a big deal in the marketing world. Most advertisements present info that - hopefully - someday, will cause the viewers to help buy. But that's still a very passive interaction. This ad made people actively dive into finding out more; they physically had to act to make that connection, and plenty of them did.

Millions more people did not know what to do, but they saw all their friends take out their phones and scan with their camera app. So they instantly educated about 70 million people by just having them watch what their friends do.

'Oh, I didn't know my cellphone could do that' must have said in almost every living room in the U.S.


Sadly, Coinbase blew it on two counts.

First, they continued do fail in the way American Marketing and Advertising firms have been failing with QR codes since day 1: They failed to insert specific value to a specific QR code. People are pretty darned tired of their first or later QR code scans just going to a web page that they could have browsed to on their own without the QR code. You're actually making the customer's day more difficult with moves like that.

If that QR code had uniquely given scanners $100 if they opened an account with Coinbase that day, then people would start understanding that QR codes can contain direct value. That's how to make your QR code transaction successful - have it lead to direct value for the customer, or, even better, go to an e-commerce page to buy a specific product right then.

(UPDATE: Well - it looks like they *did* offer an incentive with the code, we just couldn't tell since the service was overwhelmed - see below. However given that many banks offer $100 for opening an initial account, this was a bit of a low value to contribute to any sense of excitement for the person scanning.)

Secondly, they didn't successfully plan for the massive spike of potential new customers going to their site, and their website crashed, and made the news because it crashed.

So, despite the tiresome repetition of U.S. Marketing and Advertising firms decidedly failing to share QR codes which enhance customer experience, we still feel here at ACME that eventually they'll learn how to do it properly, make things easier for both customers and business, and everyone make a bit more money with more efficient QR code based transactions.

Also, we have a few exciting announcements to make ourselves in the coming month, so stay tuned.

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