News and views to improve the strength and vigor of all your direct response marketing activity.

QR (Quick Response) codes are NOT a new technology, but they sure did have a big impact during Super Bowl LVI. If you watched the game or read any marketing news recently, you’ve probably seen it — the Coinbase TV spot featuring just a bouncing QR code.

Super Bowl commercials, renowned for their entertainment factor, have often been criticized as being mostly about hype and chest-beating awareness for the world’s biggest brands. But occasionally, a newcomer niche brand like Coinbase — a cryptocurrency exchange platform — joins the field of broadcasters and scores big time.

The Coinbase 60-second Super Bowl TV spot had a phenomenal response — with over 20 million viewers scanning the bouncing QR code and then clicking through to a promotional landing page. Click the image to watch!

Before we dig deeper, let’s cover some history about QR codes. They were invented by a Japanese automotive component manufacturer to more accurately track parts and vehicles on the assembly line.

In the 2000s, QR codes started to be adopted by marketers — Macy’s and Best Buy used them in stores. But they had lackluster results because many consumers didn’t have smartphones or a special app to read them, and most had no idea what they were or what to do with them.

Today, thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and consumers catching on to the technology, QR coding has seen renewed popularity and success among marketers. During the COVID pandemic, QR codes were how we all accessed bar and restaurant menus, and are still often used that way today.

Coinbase Floating QR Code TV Spot — direct response magic!

Some marketing professionals have criticized the Coinbase TV spot as gimmicky, relying on a shiny penny. But in my opinion, Coinbase was smart. They used tracking technology as the TV concept itself to attract attention. Then threw in a compelling online offer and easy signup form to spur action — and you’ve got direct response magic!

Coinbase just tapped into one powerful aspect of human nature: Curiosity.

A simple yet powerful creative concept.

From a creative standpoint, Coinbase’s TV spot was simple yet powerful, and inexpensive to produce. Sixty seconds of nothing but peppy music and one intriguing QR code moving slowly around the screen like one of those hypnotic screensavers from back in the day. What’s more, the TV spot had not one single brand identifier in sight, not even their logo (although a vanity URL does appear briefly at the end).

When you watch the spot, you can’t help but wonder where the QR code leads if you scan it and click. And millions of people did just that.

Coinbase just tapped into one powerful aspect of human nature: Curiosity. And boy, did they do a good job of this!

20+ million responses with a potential ROI in the millions.

Every year, the Super Bowl is arguably the biggest TV event on the planet. In fact, in 2022 it had over 112 million viewers. It’s also the most expensive for marketers — this year, the price for a 30-second TV commercial was up to 7 million bucks!

Which means Coinbase spent upwards of $14 million for their 60 seconds of fame. Super expensive … but super effective for cost efficiency and consumer engagement.

Take a powerful TV concept, add in a compelling online offer with an easy signup form, and you’ve got direct response magic!

On the Coinbase blog, their Chief Marketing Officer said more than 20 million people scanned the QR code and visited the accompanying landing page during the TV spot — that’s 6 times the amount of traffic they had expected (which might explain the reported glitches for some visitors of their landing page).

So if you do the direct response math:

20+ million online visitors

÷ 112+ million viewers

= 18% response rate

That’s a great response rate in general, and unheard of for a TV spot (probably would’ve been even higher if people hadn’t taken bathroom breaks). The Coinbase brand was lighting up social media, too — with over 30,000 tweets and over a quarter million engagements. In addition, the Coinbase app rocketed to Number 2 on the App Store.

Coinbase’s promotional offer took it to the house, too!

When Super Bowl viewers scanned the QR code on screen, they were taken to a dedicated landing page with a promotional offer: $15 in free bitcoin when you open a new Coinbase account.

You’re probably thinking, Yeah, but how many Coinbase site visitors actually signed up? I’ve seen estimates of upwards of 500,000 new customers were generated from the TV spot. Coinbase has stated that each customer generates about $90 in revenue per year. That works out to an additional $45 million! Not a bad return on investment at all — all from a single QR code and a well-executed super strategy!

Want a super return on your marketing investment?

Just like Coinbase, DMW clients want more bang for their marketing buck — lead generation and conversions. That’s where our proprietary Action Branding™ comes in. It’s brand-focused, direct response advertising that gets consumers to act!

And thanks to having the right tracking tools in place on all our creative tactics — like QR codes, vanity URLs/phone numbers, UTMs, and more — we know exactly what’s working and where your potential new customers are coming from.

So contact us today and let’s talk about winning in your market!