Calvin Klein Jeans Replaces Racy Billboards with QR Codes

Posted on July 14, 2010


Calvin Klein QR code billboard replaced sexy underware models in NY and LA

Interesting news from the home front!- QR codes on billboards, let the education begin!

This past weekend, Calvin Klein Jeans replaced three of its billboards — two in downtown New York and one on Sunset Boulevard in LA — not with another racy montage of scantily clad models, but with a bright red QR code under the words “Get It Uncensored.”

Passersby can use their smartphones to snap a picture, which will pull up an exclusive, 40-second commercial featuring models Lara Stone, “A.J.,” Sid Ellisdon, Grayson Vaughan and Eric Anderson. After the spot plays, viewers can then share the code with their Facebook and Twitter networks.

The billboard marks the official premiere of Calvin Klein Jeans’s Fall 2010 advertising campaign. Previous campaigns have debuted on more traditional venues, the company explained, such as broadcast and dedicated online sites.

QR codes are increasingly appearing in advertisements as a way to increase engagement with consumers. Although already common in Japan (where they were originally invented), they do not appear in many advertisements — much less take up an entire billboard.

Most U.S. citizens still do not own smartphones, and even those that do don’t necessarily know what a QR code is or have the necessary scanning software to read it.

The billboards are clearly a test run for Calvin Klein Jeans, given that they will be up for only a little more than a week. If the videos get enough views, however, we can expect similar billboards in the future — both from Calvin Klein Jeans and from other brands. It’s often difficult to measure engagement with billboards, and QR codes help advertisers better measure their impact.

What are QR codes you might ask? well- A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.
QR Codes are common in Japan, where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. Most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging).