Monday, May 12, 2014

A Mother's Day Promotion in China with WeChat and QR Codes

Unlike a Mother's Day several years ago in Zigong, Sichuan province, I didn't see any fashion shows yesterday in Hengyang, Hunan province. However, I saw some signs of Mother's Day at a few shopping centers and stores. One especially caught my eye because of its use of technology and flowers.

Outside of a shopping center with small clothing stores primarily targeting younger women, there was a Mother's Day promotion. In return for a flower and other possible gifts to give one's mother, people were asked to do two things.

One, people captured an image of a QR code through the mobile phone app for WeChat--called "Weixin" in China.

After the code was read, people found that they were now following the shopping center's WeChat account.

Two, people were also asked to write their name and phone number on a pad of paper.

During the time I was around, there was a constant stream of people going taking the two steps for receiving a free gift (sometimes receiving it in the middle if they signed their names first)--a possible sign of many things, including the popularity of smartphones and WeChat in China. It's definitely not the first instance of using QR codes and WeChat as part of a marketing campaign in China though. The use of a pad of paper instead something more high-tech for collecting names and numbers also raises some interesting issues.

Finally, although I didn't follow their WeChat account or provided my name and number, one of the people working for the promotion gave me a flower and a mousepad.

Since my mother is nowhere near Hengyang, I was not able to give her the gifts as intended. Instead, I passed them on to people I later met. Perhaps they made their way to other mothers.

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