Brands use QR codes to create shoppable ads and experiences

Young people desire frictionless experiences, especially when it comes to shopping. The following companies have created shoppable ads—as well as shoppable art—using QR codes, which allow consumers to use their mobile cameras to access the products they want at the click of a 'snap'.


To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Hello Kitty last summer, Schick partnered with Sanrio to create a shoppable mural in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood. Fans could pose with the colorful mural and use their phones to snap a photo of a hidden QR code, which unlocked a presale website where people could place their order for two limited edition Hello Kitty razor gift sets. To spread the word about the event, Schick tapped micro-influencers, like @messypink and Karen Pagtama of @littlesweetkaren, whose colorful Instagram content matched that of the Hello Kitty brand.


Last year, NBCU became the first broadcast network to launch shoppable ads. The new tech—called ShoppableTV—allows audiences to use their mobile cameras to scan an onscreen QR code and be redirected to a website where they can purchase a product. In a demo held for a furniture company, a QR code appeared on the bottom-right corner of a still image of the rehearsal space for The Voice, which was dressed with the company’s furniture. Scanning the QR code through the mobile camera redirected the user to a website where they could access more details about the furniture and purchase the item.


Shiseido took a two-pronged approach to promote its duty-free store at the Hong Kong International Airport. For those traveling with the airport’s HKG My Flight mobile app, Shiseido sent a push notification when travelers were in proximity of the duty-free shop, alerting them about deals and offering free product samples for flyers who filled out a mobile registration form. For those without the app, Shiseido positioned digital billboards that had a QR code throughout the airport. Travelers that scanned the codes would be directed to the campaign’s website, where they could sign up to redeem Shiseido beauty samples at the nearby duty-free counter.