The Detroit Red Wings are a socially savvy bunch. The NHL team recently started including QR codes in their in-arena distributed Red Wings Today program, and the effort is proving to be a big hit with fans in attendance.

After seeing Esquire’s use of augmented reality, the team decided to get creative and make their print program interactive (embedded below) to include digital media accessible via QR codes.

The codes in question appear in the program and include a prominent call to action that reads, “Smartphone interactive, scan here.” A mobile device scan of the QR code brings up the following video for fans to watch instantly:

Instead of letting fans figure out QR codes on their own (a rather complicated concept to people unfamiliar with the technology), the team got smart and put together an instructional video that now airs on the big screen during games. That video can be seen below:

What’s more important is that the experimental approach to a traditionally old-fashioned print publication is paying off big-time. Fans are actually using QR code bar scanners on their mobile devices to access the video, and sticking around to enjoy it. The Red Wings’ Social Networking Coordinator Nicole Yelland tells us (bolded for emphasis):

“In tracking this effort, the Wings have found mobile devices to be the #1 viewing medium fans are using to see videos accounting for an overwhelming 22% of fans viewing linked videos nearly 2,000 times all the way through. We’re very excited at the possibilities this technology provides our team in giving more access and we’ve only just begun to tap into the capabilities it provides us in both marketing to our fans and giving them exactly what they are asking for in terms of access to their team.

Moving forward, we’re looking to create exclusive video content that is complimentary to stories included in the magazine, create opportunities for our advertisers to include offers in their ads via QR codes and put our fans in the driver’s seat when it comes to giving them information on the Detroit Red Wings.”

We’ve seen plenty of impressive social media sports initiatives (especially around the Super Bowl), but this has got to be one of the most innovative approaches to driving home the connection between the team, its fans, online content and the in-game experience.


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