Free coffee and QR codes make for an innovative ad campaign

Free coffee and QR codes make for an innovative ad campaign

Cafe Joe's unique method of pulling in customers wins accolades from advertising pros

An Israeli coffee shop chain recently scored an advertising first with a combination print/digital/Internet/location-based advertising campaign, designed specifically to reach people who read newspapers but who also use their smartphones as primary sources of information.

The campaign, designed by the Y&R ad agency in Tel Aviv for the Cafe Joe chain, has received accolades from industry professionals for creativity and innovation.

QR (Quick Response) codes are becoming commonplace in print ads, on billboards, and even on web pages. A smartphone’s camera can read the code and thus download information to your device. Most QR codes direct your device to a website where you can get more information about the product or service in question.

While QR codes in newspaper ads are not uncommon, Y&R’s campaign on behalf of Cafe Joe was the first to offer customers a coupon for a free cup of coffee, redeemable at a Cafe Joe branch – which they could find using Google Maps, which automatically opened when the code was scanned, showing the nearest Cafe Joe location with directions on how to get there. The campaign was also the first to integrate QR codes with GPS settings on smartphones, industry experts said.

While most Internet coupon campaigns offer discounts to customers, the idea behind the Cafe Joe campaign was to increase foot traffic and introduce customers to the chain. Many Israelis have heard of Cafe Joe, but it is far less an established brand than the numerous coffee shop chains that dot the country. By getting people into the door, a spokesperson for Y&R said, the free coffee deal “seemed to be exactly the right answer.” Response was very good, and as a result, Y&R said, QR codes are now a permanent part of Cafe Joe’s ads, both in print and on billboards.

The campaign was a winner technologically, the spokesperson said, but it was also a winner in the way that really counted — the bottom line. Sales were up, and so is repeat business, “since customers now know the way to the nearest Cafe Joe,” having gotten directions to the coffee shop.

Y&R wanted “to create a connection for the client between the brand and the experience,” the spokesperson said, and in this the campaign succeeded. Campaigns like these “create added value for the costumer, and a connection to the brand,” and Y&R expects to conduct similar campaigns in the future, the spokesperson said.



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