Coming out of the pandemic, C&E made a point of asking consultants what trends they thought were here to stay – at least for a while. And last year, mail consultants were pretty convinced QR codes were going to be a permanent fixture of their creative.
Alicia Sisneros, founder of Sisneros Strategies, was one consultant who believed the QR code re-discovery in 2020 would lead to their long-term, regular use.
“We used [QR codes] multiple times this cycle to move people from mail to a digital link online. We’re probably going to continue using that for a while,” she said last year during C&E’s Creative Summit.
Part of the appeal, Sisneros explained, was that the voter can get quick access to information about things like absentee ballot return and the campaign would get some data in return.
Now, at least some mail consultants are seeing the codes a bit differently.
“People don’t really scan them,” said Andy George, a managing partner at GOP mail shop Franklin Creative Group. “It’s cute to put them on there, but we’re not really getting the scan.”
In fact, Luke Marchant, also on the shingle at Franklin, encouraged clients to challenge their mail vendors: “Ask them to see the details.”
Marchant said his firm had recently been testing the codes in a multi-state piece for a client and they haven’t seen worthwhile engagement. As a result, they’re actually discouraging clients from using them.
“It’s valuable real estate,” Marchant said.
Other mail strategists, though, still see them as an effective way to move voters to a digital environment and to reinforce messaging. During a webinar hosted by C&E last week, GOP strategist Tiffany Delgado and Democratic mail strategist Nadia Garnett both said QR codes are still part of their creative mix.
QR codes are still useful to inform voters about mail-in voting deadlines or connect them to vote-by-mail resources and Garnett, a partner at Deliver Strategies, said she still sees utility in them for this cycle and likely even beyond.
Delgado, a VP at TLC Political, said she’s still seeing interaction with the codes on mail pieces and thinks they have been effective in pushing older voters to digital resources.
“I think something really positive that QR codes have done post-pandemic is driven an older demographic that wasn’t used to going on a digital platform,” Delgado said. “They all know how to use QR codes now.”