Subway Makes Great QR Codes

This post was originally authored for Diversified Data Technologies, LLC and has been syndicated here for further publication by the author.

What is a QR Code?

Diversified Data Technologies, LLC Homepage QR Code

QR Codes (pictured at right) are starting to show up everywhere. They’re at your favorite restaurants, websites, and even on t-shirts. QR Codes themselves are a great way to go beyond print media and bring video, images, and the web to supplement your advertising goals. Some QR Codes will bring you to company homepages, some will nab you sweet discount coupons, and other may lead you on a scavenger hunt with a free Ford Focus at the end. Well, alright, the Ford Focus isn’t typical, but QR codes are starting to become a norm.

For those of you who aren’t aware, QR codes began as a way for manufacturers to control inventory and processes. They began in Japan in the early 90’s and have been applied to broader commercial applications since the middle this decade. The 2D barcode packs much more information in its space than a typical UPC or similar code, and technically speaking is one of the most sophisticated barcodes generally available. But the sophistication isn’t something to worry about. After years of success oversees, they have come to the US and all you need to use them is your cell phone.

Perhaps the best part of QR codes is their cost — FREE. Just Google for a QR Code generator and you will find a plethora of them. also has their own QR Code generator, but there is no difference in the actual QR code generated between carriers. Some may offer tracking details which is nice, but if your QR code links to a URL shortening service that has a unique URL for the QR code, the same analytics can be found on your favorite website analytics platform. In fact, this is strongly advised so that your analytics don’t simply see a direct link which can lead to a false sense of customer knowledge about your brand.

NHL 11 & Subway

Subway NHL 11 QR Code

Subway NHL 11 QR Code

Perhaps one of the best implementations of a QR Code I have seen to date have been in the video game NHL 11. Just as in a real live hockey broadcast, there are ads along the side of the boards. One such in-game ad features Subway (the world’s largest fast food chain). It is clearly visible on many aspects of the screen which not only ads to the overall effect and realness of the game, but also provides great value to Subway. But what’s more, they also have a QR code on their in-game ad. In this way, gamers are able to see and do more with Subway than to just see their ad in game.

A user only needs to whip out their cell phone and snap a quick picture of the code to see what it brings. In this case, the QR code directs gamers to a mobile-enabled landing page asking users to enter their e-mail for the chance to win free Subway for life.

Subway's QR Code Landing Page

Instead of simply advertising, Subway went one step further and integrated internet technologies to supplement their ad. By using a QR code, they engaged the user to interact with the brand instead of merely seeing it. This exponentially increases the value of the brand and the consumer brand awareness than had the ad been static with no supplemental value. By leading users to a contest page where they could win something, they are likely to get high conversions as users enter their e-mail address and voluntarily offer that communication channel for future advertising efforts. Now, Subway has not only gotten their brand out there, they have gotten their target to engage the brand and even give out their personal information so the company can engage them in future advertising efforts.

And all of this ADDS to the value fo the game. Finally, marketers are starting to figure out how to bring their content to places where they are wanted to be seen, interacted with, and enjoyed. By using QR codes you are adding to the overall consumer experience, not detracting from it. If consumers like it and businesses clearly stand to benefit from it, the use of QR codes seems like a cheap and easy no brainer.

Written by

David is an avid social entrepreneur and Boston sports fanatic. He founded Diversified Data Technologies way back in 2009 and stuck around to see it grow. His party quarks include unnecessary dancing and being an overly hospitable host. When looking, he can be found capturing the twitterverse at @DLanphear, being professional on LinkedIn, or bouncing around town with Foursquare.

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