Last week’s agreement between the Indiana Pacers and Spokenote–an Indianapolis-area startup that offers inexpensive QR-code stickers for use by consumers, businesses and organizations—has produced the first-ever pro sports sponsor uniform patch to feature a QR code.
It will be intriguing to watch whether this high-profile partnership jump-starts interest from other brands in affixing QR codes to their sponsorship inventory.
Given that Spokenote is in the QR business and is looking to generate awareness and educate consumers about its products, the inclusion of a QR code makes sense despite the small size of NBA jersey patches. It’s likely other sponsors considering the use of codes would be eyeing larger camera-visible opportunities such as courtside signage where they could post creative messaging in addition to their name and the code.
The ability of dynamic codes to deliver updated and relevant content has the potential to add value to signs and other branded sponsorship inventory. Yet marketers have had a love/hate relationship with those black-and-white pixelated boxes. While many brands have adopted their use in both digital and physical settings, some—such as last year’s Super Bowl advertiser Limit Break, have faced technical issues—while others are concerned that the codes’ growing ubiquity for all types of purposes—not just marketing—could lead to user fatigue and burnout.
Seeking to answer questions about QR codes for sports and entertainment partners, gameday digital activation specialist Sqwad last spring tested QR code usage at seven stadiums. Among the findings: It takes an average of 14 seconds for fans to decide whether they want to scan a code, take out their phone, open the camera and scan. Sqwad points out that for video ads, the codes are sometimes not displayed for that length of time, making the case for increasing the display length, or alternatively, having the code on a static piece of inventory.
The test also found that as long as the code was scannable, there was no correlation between its size and how often it was scanned, a fact that Spokenote will certainly be happy to hear.
While those are helpful tips, its likely that brands have been reticent to add QR codes to sponsorship inventory without further concrete evidence that fans will scan, view the content provided and continue to engage with the brand.
Although most sponsors are reluctant to share specific results, Spokenote should prove to be different. With a vested interest in promoting the use of QR codes, the company should be willing to share how well its Pacers patch performs in terms of views, click-throughs, etc., thus providing critical data that could encourage or discourage other brands from following in its footsteps.