Friday’s 4-1-1, What’s Coors Light Doing Style?

Coors Light Instore Display

I really didn’t know what to make of this when I saw it. I was in a rush and I caught a glimpse of something familiar on my way out the convenience store door (and it wasn’t the girl!) That tag.


The same thing that Bud Light just used?

I mean, I can see the value of using code and/or image recognition on your packaging to drive a deeper experience, but I find it interesting that Coors Light chose to do the same exact thing their biggest competitor – Bud Light – chose to do only a few months ago.

I stood for a split second in disbelief – the others in the store thought I was just staring at the display – then, I took a photo and went on my very way. I thought it was such a blatant rip-off that I didn’t want to snap the tag on the box or have anything to do with Coors Light, but the next time I found myself in a grocery store, I had to stop by the beer and see what it was all about.

Coors Light Snap Tag Box

I got a text message back, directing me to a site, and an option to receive more texts. So, now I’m in their communication stream. We’ll see what happens.

I thought I’d spend today’s Friday 4-1-1 reflecting a little deeper on this experience – because there are solid components here – instead of instantly shutting them off since I’d seen this before.

1. On the surface, all codes are created equal – the one thing that is different between all of the image and code-scanning technologies is whether or not you need a special app on your phone to engage with it. And really, you just need the app to read the image (i.e. Google Goggles) or code (i.e. QR code/MS Tag). They all open the door to the same content. I’ve found these image recognition technologies (SnapTag and JagTag) need a couple more clicks to access the content, but to me, it’s not an inconvenience in the experience. Question for Coors Light is why use the same exact technology (SnapTag) that Bud Light just used? I doubt there was such a huge wave of success from Bud Light’s campaign that they felt they needed to ride it?? I would have picked another one. Because they all do the same thing.

2. Codes are a key to unlocking multi-channel experiences – from the scan, I get instant access to:

  • .com (digital)
  • Facebook, Twitter (social)
  • iPhone game app (mobile)
  • Plus rich content like videos and sharable memes – the Ditka Cold Call to your friends is my favorite.
  • And I’m in their communication stream via text message.

See the power of codes? More and more, marketers are realizing this low-cost technology can enable deeper brand experiences. And big brands like this don’t need to create special content for these extended experiences. They just need to drive people there.

Welcome the code. I just would have picked another one.

3. Do consumers care? – Consumers want value and ease. These codes have the potential to provide value by unlocking deeper content, be it more brand content or coupons, and some of them are easier to use than others. These SnapTags don’t require a smartphone or an app, they just require an awareness and desire from the consumer to interact with them. So, you can’t get any easier than it already is. I would just love to know how successful these are. Anyone know the “snap rate” for the Bud Light or Coors Light campaigns?

I would still recommend tags in addition to/replacement of URLs in a lot of cases because they provide instant access to the content, typically with only one click. It’s really more about consumer adoption at this point.

4. OOH has a definite place in the ecosystem – and more than that, has a definite place in code-based campaign ecosystems. And the OOH component doesn’t have to be “digital.” As we see here, with this static in-store display, they’re stopping consumers and making them aware. I think anyone who’s considering implementing a campaign like this should take note of the simple solutions used here. You can’t get any more lowfi, but in my opinion, it’s incredibly effective .

“Uh-huh” – so, if 2 major beer makers are using technologies like this, will all the others? I think it’s only a good thing – whether or not I agree with Coors Light’s choice – for these sorts of technologies that such big brands are using them. They enable a more focused, purposeful OOH component, and I think agencies will have more and more opportunities to show off creative executions in bringing these technologies to life. What we’ll see, I think, is a different way of thinking about “traditional OOH.”

“Duh” – I just don’t get the decision here. In fairness, I’m not involved in any of the brand/agency conversations, but you’d think someone would have raised this and really questioned using the same code technology. I think, more than anything, this shows how wide-open this space (code/image scanning) is, with no clear leader. And consumers haven’t tipped to one technology over another. There’s still a lot of experimentation going on.

At the heart, this is another good example of a multi-channel brand experience (and a pretty deep one at that). And for me, it all started with an OOH component.

It shows how important it is to stop people when they’re out and about and engage them in some way. Here it was through the image-scanning technology.

I just would have picked another one.

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