August 26, 2011 / by Jeff

Taking QR Codes to the Next Level – Scavenger Hunts!

I have said often that the best QR Code experiences are ultra personalized to an audience where it offers personalized content to a viewer in context. Two days ago I found out about the most amazing QR Code scavenger hunt that I never even knew was going on. Ever heard of Deus Ex? It’s a video game that ran a 3 month QR Code scavenger hunt similar to the Mercedes-Benz campaign posted on this site a few days ago. This campaign is now over, so unfortunately you can no longer experience it.

21 codes were hidden in the game, instore displays, ads, facebook pages, and clues were given over twitter (one per week). Using the “Deus Ex QR Missions App”, users scanned a code to unlock virtual prizes (video clips, xbox avatars, player upgrades) and real prizes. If you scanned one of the codes without the app, it brings you to a mobile landing page that asks you to download it. In addition to an individual experience, prizes were unlocked when enough people scanned a certain number of codes or facebook likes were achieved to “level up” the entire gaming experience.

I am impressed how this campaign achieved 3 things.

  1. Broke the stereotype of “offline to online” interactions. It went online, to virtual, to offline, to collective, back to online AND offline.
  2. Offered several experiences after the QR Code scan that were of value on a tiered level. Individual scans were tallied, but also everyone received value from a crowdsourced participation model of leveling up for a prize based on collective scans. The Core idea of the game itself is about Cyborgs, and the “augment youself” mantra behind this campaign is a perfect fit for customizing your xbox UI or character gameplay.
  3. Few campaigns successfully inspire loyalty for a QR Code campaign. This campaign got several people to look and scan all 21 QR codes. And it wasn’t easy. One code was released per week, and supposedly some were in store requiring travel, and others required you looking through a twitter feed for clues.

I think this campaign can inspire us to think differently about how mobile tags can be integrated throughout a multichannel campaign to create a truly unique experience.

A special thanks to Mark Anderson to sharing this campaign with me.

Patrick Donnelly, Mobile Solutions Architect at and personal blog at

Original article by: Patrick Donnelly 
Posted by: Jeff Pulvino   

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