February 13, 2023

QR Codes Make a Splash in Superbowl 2023

Kait Stephens

A year after Coinbase’s famous QR Code commercial, crypto has fizzled out, but the use of QR codes did not! 

In 2022, Coinbase took over the Super Bowl news stream with its legendary QR code commercial. It was a 60-second spoof on a 90’s screensaver with nothing but a QR code bouncing around the screen. While Coinbase made the biggest splash, there were 4 different commercials, including QR codes from Bud Light, Rocket Mortgage, and KIA. 

This year, we counted at least 10 different commercials using QR codes (not counting second runs), which is 14% of all of the commercials aired during the Superbowl. For those of you who took the Over on the 7.5 line, you were right!

You can find our full play-by-play with QR code placement critiques below!

DigiDaigaku NFT promo from Limit Break

This one was a head-scratcher for people who were unaware of Limit Break and the DigiDaigaku game (most of the world). The commercial featured anime characters battling each other and climbing a giant treasure chest with a QR code. In the last 5 seconds, the commercial transitioned to a call to action promoting a free digital collectible. When you scanned the QR code, it took you to the CEO’s Twitter page, where you were prompted to “Follow to Win.” And if you scrolled down, there was a pinned Tweet promoting a free NFT. A very confusing journey. 

Fox Bet Super 6

At Least two times during the live Fox broadcast, Terry Bradshaw promoted a $1M sweepstakes giveaway. It was a pretty straightforward promotion, and when you scanned the QR code, you were directed to a promotional website where you could download the Fox Bet Super Six 6 app and pick the outcomes of the game for a free chance to win. 

Animal Control TV Show

This commercial featured comedian Joel McHale holding a real cougar and promoting his upcoming sitcom on the Fox Network. The QR code was front and center for most of the ad spot. When scanned, it would direct to an even longer 3-minute preview of the show on Youtube. 

CSAA Rickroll

This was another head-scratcher of a commercial, but we liked the strength of the call to action. It featured a simple white background with a QR code and with Rick Astley's trademark hairstyle. When scanned, the QR code led to a 5-month-old Youtube video commercial titled, “InsurAAAnce & Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up.” It was an irreverent approach reminiscent of the famous Coinbase approach. And who doesn’t like 80’s music? 

The roast of Mr. Peanut

This was one of the funniest ads in the Superbowl. It featured Jeff Ross and other comedians roasting the iconic Mr. Peanut mascot from Planter’s peanuts. The QR code was on screen most of the commercial and when scanned, redirected to the full 11-minute roast on Youtube. 

Avocados from Mexico

This zany off-the-wall commercial was another highlight of this year’s Superbowl. It starred Anna Faris as Eve from the biblical garden of Eden. An avocado saves the day after Eve eats the forbidden fruit. The scene then flashes to modern-day New York City, now known as the “Big Avocado,” where we get to see our supporting star, the QR code, in Times Square for a few seconds. Sadly, it is not on screen long enough to scan :(.

Dexcon G7

This commercial featured Nick Jonas (of the Jonas brothers) touring the benefits of Dexcom’s new G7 Continous Glucose Monitoring system. Unfortunately, we were in the bathroom during this commercial and didn't get a chance to scan the code. And the Youtube version above didn't include the QR CTA :(.

Michelob Ultra - Full Swing Gossip

This ad featured celebrities Tony Romo, Ricky Fowler, and Alex Morgan drinking Michelob Ultra and watching Full Swing, a new show on Netflix. The commercial ended, featuring a can of Michelob with a QR code. When scanned, it brought you to a Michelob-hosted landing page with a promotion video for the Netflix show.

Dunkin’ Drive Thru Starring Ben Affleck

This Dunkin’ Donuts commercial starred Ben Affleck as himself, working the drive-through window. We had to dig deep into this one, but after getting into the outtakes on Youtube, we found a QR code on a box of munchkins as a “background extra.” It was too small to scan.


We Wanna Hear You (Met’s Ticket Commercial)

This was an exclusive commercial for the New York tri-state area, but we’d be remiss to leave it out because of it’s great execution. The commercial featured star players, including Justin Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Koda Senga working the phones to sell tickets for the upcoming season. The QR code was present in the corner of the screen for the whole spot and linked to the Met’s ticket sales website.

More use cases beyond advertising

With the cost per 30-second spot reaching $7M, advertisers spent $70M on commercials with QR codes. Not including the cost of filming the commercials! 

Some food for thought, while we are excited about QR codes making waves in this year’s Super Bowl. Imagine what a brand could do if they put a QR code on their product or packaging. 

They could save the $7M ad spot.  And have millions of roving billboards circulating in stores and homes.

Each its own brand activation point and communication channel. 

What’s your 2023 QR code experience strategy? If you don't have one, the Brij team is happy to advise at any time. Get in touch to discuss!

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