Sold! Clever Book Adverts

Excessive advertisements in magazines have long been one of my (few) pet peeves.  Fatigued by page upon page of glossy advertisements, some so avant-garde that it’s difficult to discern what luxe product or designer is being promoted, I’ve pared down my subscriptions from eight monthly magazines to just one weekly.  I once took the time to count the number of pages of ads between the table of contents and a certain magazine’s first article (97!!), and my time wasn’t wasted–I got to cite the information here.

But it seems I might have to amend my position on magazine adverts thanks to the creative marketing folks at Knopf books.  While (belatedly) flipping through last week’s issue of New York Magazine, my attention was grabbed by a snappy advertisement for a BOOK.  Oh, you sneaky Knopf people; you’ve found my Achilles’ heel!

Not only was the advertisement for Maine, a new book by by J. Courtney Sullivan, aesthetically pleasing–I’m a sucker for anything remotely beach-themed–but it also featured a little QR code on the lower left side of the page with the inviting phrase SCAN TO READ THE FIRST CHAPTER emblazoned above it.  I felt a bit like Alice when she happened upon the Drink Me bottle.

Slow to adapt to most technology, I wasn’t quite sure how to scan the square bar code but figured my trusty iPhone would come to my rescue.  I opened my Red Laser app, pointed the camera at the QR code, and presto!  Within seconds, the first chapter of Maine was on my phone and ready to view.  I dove in and was immediately hooked.  I downloaded the book to my Kindle and mentally awarded a point to Knopf’s team for their nifty marketing campaign*.

I was so inspired by the effectiveness of the QR Code (quick response, indeed!) that I had to find out how to make one for Book, Line, and Sinker.  This could be a brilliant marketing tool next year at the Blogger Con–instead of introducing myself, I’ll be enigmatic and walk around with my QR code printed on my t-shirt!  Or maybe I’ll just put it on the Book, Line, and Sinker bookmarks I’ve been designing for the better part of two years.

Scan me!

Would you like a QR code of your very own?  All you need is a web address.  Here’s the site I used to generate mine.

*It’s entirely possible that this isn’t the first time a QR code has been used to promote books or products in advertisements-it was just the first time I’ve seen it.


  • At 2011.07.06 13:12, Sandy said:

    Oh now that is slick. Not only the advert but your own code! I am just that distracted of a person that I could go off on all kinds of tangents if I saw a book promoted in this way. Hey, you could just have your own code on your phone, right? And whip the phone out for scanning, just like handing out business cards? I’m going to have to look into this…

    • At 2011.07.06 13:44, Ti said:

      I just downloaded the scanner so I could scan you! Pretty neat!!

      • At 2011.07.06 14:31, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

        I’ve seen those QR codes all over the place but have never downloaded the reader. I love the fact that you made your own.

        • At 2011.07.06 15:08, Florinda said:

          I downloaded the Red Laser scanner app and tested it on your QR code – very cool! (And did you know Red Laser can create QR codes too? I tried it for my own blog :-D.)
          Thanks for sharing!

          • At 2011.07.06 20:00, Julie @ Read Handed said:

            Cool! What a great use of a QR code.

            • At 2011.07.06 21:01, Jenners said:

              That is a great use of the QR code. Now I want to try and make one too! How neat.

              • At 2011.07.07 00:25, avisannschild said:

                Although I’ve been seeing them all over the place, I had no idea what those codes were until I read this post!

                I really want to read that book too!

                • At 2011.07.07 02:29, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                  I can’t even check out the magazine ad because I am too distracted by the awesomeness that is behind it. What is that tree thing?

                  I had a different scanner on my phone that I used once before and then it never scanned again but I just downloaded Red Laser and it worked like a charm to scan your magical code!

                  • At 2011.07.07 09:46, Natalie said:

                    that is called a sea fan (gorgonia is the true name) and i bought it a few years ago in cape may, nj at the whale’s tale. 🙂

                  • At 2011.07.07 13:50, Kathleen said:

                    Wow, what a great find! Thanks for sharing with all of us.

                    • At 2011.07.07 17:11, softdrink said:

                      That’s a pretty cool marketing idea…and I’m impressed you figured out how to download it!

                      • At 2011.07.10 12:54, Dishy said:

                        If my iPhone hadn’t just crapped out – I’m sorry, shattered beyond recognition – I would try that out. Very cool, Nat – thanks for sharing!

                        • At 2011.07.11 14:44, Aths said:

                          Neat!! Thanks for sharing that! I just generated mine and I’m getting a kick out of it.

                          • At 2011.07.11 22:42, Jennifer said:

                            That is some brilliant advertising. I have seen the QR codes around a bunch but didn’t really know what they did. Now that I do, I am definitely intrigued. I guess I’ll have to look into getting a code of my own and downloading the iPhone scanner thing. I love how nifty it is to have an iPhone.

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