If you happened to catch the recent Duncan Hines “Bake On” commercial, you may have registered a subliminal cupcake crop circle that momentarily materialized before disappearing beneath a giant flying brownie. I’m not making this stuff up. The first time I saw it, my brain didn’t even realize that it had seen a QR Code until after the next commercial started—and by then I had no recollection of what that crazy kaleidoscopic, cupcake-tastic commercial was even advertising. Here are some screenshots from the trippy 30 second spot:
At first glance, it seemed utterly pointless—flashing a QR Code so fast no one even knows that they’ve seen, let alone has the time to pull out their smartphones. I imagined people on the edge of their couches with iPhones primed, eagerly anticipating that split second when the commercial inevitably airs again. Visions of Orphan Annie’s Secret Society decoder pin danced in my head.
And then I remembered all those DVRs out there. Now assuming folks are not already skipping the commercials, this is actually a pretty neat strategy to get people to stop and take note of an ad, albeit one with a pretty high technical barrier to entry.
So where does the QR Code go? Well, that depends. It encodes the URL http://dhbakeon.com/qr/code/1, which, if you scan (or click) using a desktop web browser, will redirect you to Duncan Hines’ Facebook page. But if you scan with your iPhone (a more likely scenario), you’ll get a little web-based mobile site with recipes and coupons, including some features that are “locked”, requiring you to “Scan more [cupcake?] QR codes” (leaving no brownie unturned, I’d imagine).